Previous Section Index Home Page

1 May 2008 : Column 624W—continued

Prime Minister

Conferences: Poverty

Bob Spink: To ask the Prime Minister who (a) was invited to and (b) attended the Promoting Prosperity: Progressive Governance Summit. [202089]

The Prime Minister: A list of attendees is a matter of public record and is available at: A copy of this webpage has been placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Prime Minister how many people are employed by (a) the Press Office, (b) the Policy Unit, (c) the Speech Writing Unit, (d) the Research and Information Unit, (e) the Private Office, (f) the Strategic Communications Unit and (g) the Political Office in No. 10 Downing Street. [199060]

The Prime Minister: The total number of staff on the No. 10 payroll as at 1 April 2008 is set out in the following table.

Number at 1 April 2008

Prime Minister’s Office


Of which:

Private Office


No. 10 Policy Unit


Press Officers


Strategic Communications Unit


Research and Information


(1) This figure includes those responsible for co-ordinating speech writing.
(2) This figure includes one secondee from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
(3) This includes one unpaid adviser.

The staffing and associated costs for my Political Office are met by the Labour party. As has been the case under successive Administrations, marginal costs associated with the Political Office are met from within the overall budget for 10 Downing street.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (HL) 2007-08

Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter he sent to hon. Members about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill; who drafted the letter; whom he consulted before issuing the letter; what responses he has received from hon. Members; if he will place in the Library copies of those responses; and if he will make a statement. [198727]

The Prime Minister: My letter was sent to all Labour Members of Parliament and is available in the public domain.

Northern Ireland


Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether his Department provides (a) tax-free benefits and (b) other allowances for their staff to purchase bicycles under the Cycle to Work scheme; and if he will make a statement. [198768]

Mr. Woodward: Currently there is no provision in respect of tax free benefits to purchase a bicycle under the cycle to work scheme. It is anticipated that this facility will be made available later this year when the Department has fully implemented a new HR and pay system. In the meantime the Department has made available an advance of salary to a maximum of £400 should staff wish to purchase a bicycle and associated safety equipment.

Departmental Sick Leave

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many working days were lost by his Department due to stress-related illness in each of the last 24 months; [198932]

(2) how many of his Department's staff took more than (a) five, (b) 10, (c) 15, (d) 20, (e) 25, (f) 30, (g) 35 and (h) 40 days leave due to stress in each of the last five years, broken down by pay grade. [198976]

Mr. Woodward: Information on stress is not captured as a defined absence category nor in the format requested; the only figures available capture many other conditions that may not be associated directly with stress. Therefore we are unable to provide the information regarding stress-related illness due to disproportionate cost.

1 May 2008 : Column 625W

The health and safety of everyone in the Department is of paramount importance; we have a duty of care to help prevent staff becoming ill and to support them when they are. The Northern Ireland Office already has a series of effective policies and procedures in place which help achieve these aims. These include a welfare service and an independent confidential counselling service that is available 24 hours a day.


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many documents have been passed by (a) the Royal Ulster Constabulary and (b) the army to official inquiries into their respective operations in Northern Ireland in the last 28 years. [197276]

Paul Goggins: The information is as follows:

(a) The PSNI has advised that this information is not recorded centrally, and to provide the answer would incur disproportionate cost.

(b) The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has provided the following answer:

Police: Riot Control Weapons

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Taser guns have been purchased by the police in Northern Ireland; and whether there have been any instances of their use. [202206]

Paul Goggins: The Chief Constable has advised that the Police Service of Northern Ireland is piloting the use of taser and has purchased 18 taser units, six for training purposes and 12 for operational deployment by officers from the Specialist Operations Branch in pre-planned operations. To date taser has not been drawn or fired in operational use.

Public Inquiries

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of (a) each public inquiry under way in Northern Ireland and (b) each Historic Enquiries Team investigation has been in each year since 1998. [203226]

Mr. Woodward: The costs to the end of March 2008 for each public inquiry under way in Northern Ireland are:

Inquiry Cost (£ million)

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry


The Robert Hamill Inquiry


The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry


The Billy Wright Inquiry


The Wright and Hamill Inquiries are operating under the Inquiries Act 2005. The Nelson Inquiry is operating under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is operating under the Tribunals Act 1921.

1 May 2008 : Column 626W

For the Wright and Hamill Inquiries, the Secretary of State has issued a formal notice under section 40(4) of the Inquiries Act 2005, requiring them to operate within limits for fees and hours worked per week. The Inquiries Act also places a statutory duty on the inquiry chairmen to have regard to the need to avoid unnecessary cost in every decision they make. The Nelson Inquiry, which is not operating under the Inquiries Act, has also been formally instructed to keep within limits.

I cannot provide the cost of each individual HET investigation. I can confirm that the annual expenditure on HET investigations has been as follows:

Annual expenditure on HET investigation (£ million)







International Development

Bangladesh: Storms

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance is being provided to the remaining victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. [202573]

Mr. Malik: The total UK Government assistance to Cyclone Sidr for immediate and early recovery in Bangladesh is just over £15 million. This includes on-going support to the Cyclone victims with water supply and sanitation, livelihood regeneration, and housing. This also includes our most recent contribution of £5 million towards the comprehensive Early Recovery Action Plan programme, to be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Bangladesh Government over the next eight to 12 months. This programme will provide housing for 20,000 families, and livelihood regeneration for 180,000 people, as well as infrastructure rehabilitation, in the worst affected villages.

For the longer term, the Government of Bangladesh have prepared a Comprehensive Damage and Needs Assessment, in close consultation and support with donors, which will set out the long-term proposals for the disaster risk fund: Risk mitigation (riverbank protection, coastal embankments, road upgrades), and disaster preparedness (cyclone shelters, early warning systems).

Developing Countries: Food

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response he has made to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund assessment that food insecurity could lead to mass starvation and civil unrest amongst many of the world’s poorest peoples. [202496]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Mr. Crabb) on 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 285.

1 May 2008 : Column 627W

Malawi: HIV Infection

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to combat HIV/AIDS in (a) Malawi and (b) Thailand. [201941]

Gillian Merron: The information is as follows:

(a) The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing £2 million a year to the National AIDS Commission (NAC) which is responsible for leading the response to HIV and AIDS in Malawi, helping people protect themselves from HIV, and supporting orphans and those living with HIV. In parallel, DFID’s £100 million grant to the health sector to deliver the Essential Health Package (EHP) includes support for the prevention and management of HIV and AIDS including HIV Testing and Counselling, access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy and other HIV related services. The Global Fund for HIV TB and Malaria has provided over $145 million in Malawi

(b) There is no UK bilateral programme for Thailand. Thailand does benefit from DFID’s current overall support to the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria which has provided over $122 million in Thailand towards HIV programmes in the last four years.

Pakistan: Females

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government is taking to encourage the involvement of women at all levels in the democratic process in Pakistan. [201619]

Mr. Malik: Since 2002 Pakistan has made progress on strengthening the role of women in the democratic process. Most notably this has been through the reservation of 60 seats in the National Assembly and a third of all directly elected seats in local government for women. The Department for International Development (DFID) has supported these reforms through nearly £1 million of assistance to civil society to work with political representatives at all levels. We have also contributed £6 million to the United Nations Development Programme in support of women’s empowerment, including the establishment a women’s political school that has trained over 20,000 female Councillors. In addition, we have provided extensive support for training and promoting voter awareness during the recent elections. This targeted over 170,000 potential women voters and 5,000 female domestic election observers as part of a £3 million support package.

Rwanda: Overseas Aid

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government has taken to assist sustainable development in Rwanda. [200975]

Gillian Merron: Over the last 10 years, the UK has provided £380 million of development assistance to support poverty reduction and the recovery of Rwanda from the legacy of the 1994 genocide. This year, the Department for International Development (DFID) expects to provide £46 million, of which £33 million
1 May 2008 : Column 628W
will be direct budget support to the government directly supporting their sustainable development goals. We have also signed a new health sector budget support agreement worth £12 million over five years to improve maternal and child health outcomes. A further £7.5 million for the period from 2008-12 will support the One UN pilot in Rwanda, designed to improve the delivery effectiveness of the UN, which is focused on sustainable development.

DFID has also provided significant technical support to the Government of Rwanda in developing its new Poverty Reduction Strategy, known as the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), which was launched in 2007. DFID’s future programme in Rwanda, which will expand by 16 per cent. over the next three years, will focus on building capacity for the implementation of the new strategy.

Sudan: Food Aid

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the safety of those delivering World Food Programme supplies in Southern Sudan. [201407]

Gillian Merron: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 27 March 2008, Official Report, column 445W. Since then, hijackings of World Food Programme (WFP) trucks have continued. As of last week, 60 trucks had been hijacked, 39 drivers had been reported missing and 26 remain unaccounted for. As a result of the continuing violence, WFP announced on 17 April that it would reduce rations of cereals, pulses and sugar by half in May. The international community has consistently called on all parties to respect the neutrality of humanitarian agencies. In addition, we continue to press for the full and rapid deployment of the UN-AU peacekeeping force (UNAMID) in Darfur.

Duchy of Lancaster

Admiralty House

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2564W, on Admiralty House, what guidance his Department issues on the liability of occupiers of official ministerial residences for the cost of cleaning on vacation of the property. [199102]

Mr. Watson: Departures from Admiralty House are dealt with on a case by case basis.

Buildings: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what minor works have been undertaken in Downing street (a) offices and (b) ministerial residences since the Prime Minister took office. [202819]

Mr. Watson: Information on refurbishment, maintenance and structural improvements to the Downing street complex will only be available when the Department's resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament.

Next Section Index Home Page