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A further consultation will be published in May 2008, together with an impact assessment and equality impact assessment, and will be open for 12 weeks. No statement can be made as to when the process will be complete until that consultation has concluded.

Costs to date have been £2.4 million, but this does include the work that was done on chemical reagents and dressings in 2005 and 2006. These costs were for the services of professional advisers. The Department's costs are part of its ongoing operational budget.

The new arrangements for reagents and dressings which came into effect in October 2006 are delivering savings of £24 million year to primary care.

A wide range of patients groups have been involved in the consultation process and users have helped to inform policy at every stage.

International Development


Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what payments his Department made to AS Biss and Company in each of the last five years; and on what date and for what purpose the payment was made in each case. [202276]

Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development has made one single payment to AS Biss and Company of £42,652 in August 2006 for a study on how “DFID has succeeded in influencing multilateral working in the Western Balkans”.

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Departmental Freedom of Information

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many freedom of information requests made to his Department were (a) answered (i) within 20 days, (ii) within 40 days, (iii) within 60 days, (iv) after 60 days, (b) not answered and (c) answered citing an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a reason not to provide the requested information in each year since the Act came into force. [201728]

Gillian Merron: The Ministry of Justice has published two annual reports containing statistical information on freedom of information requests received by monitored bodies (including central Government Departments) in 2005 and 2006. These reports can be found at the following address:

The 2007 annual report is currently being drafted for publication in June 2008. However, statistics on requests received in each quarter of 2007 have been published and can be found via the MOJ website:

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires public bodies to respond to written requests within 20 working days of receipt, but allows additional time for the consideration of the public interest in disclosing the requested information.

The published reports provide statistics on the number of “non-routine” requests received during each period where: an initial response was provided within 20 working days; an initial response was given outside this time but a public interest test extension had been applied; an initial response was given outside this time and no public interest test extension was applied, and where no initial response had been given at the time the statistics were collected.

The 2006 annual report provides statistics on the duration of the public interest test extensions in that year. Corresponding statistics for 2007 will be available when the 2007 annual report is published.

Information requests where deadlines were extended beyond 40 days is not collected in the form requested; however the proportion of resolvable requests the Department answered “in time” (i.e. meeting the deadline or with a permitted extension) in 2007 was 77 per cent.

For 2005 and 2006, the reports show the number of requests received by the Department which were withheld, either in full or in part, where an FOI exemption or EIR exception was applied. For 2007, the number of such requests was 25, based on aggregated quarterly statistics from 2007. Requests withheld solely under the exemption applicable to “information available by other means” are not included; statistics on these are not collected centrally because they are dealt with as routine business.

Departmental ICT

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2008, Official Report, column 1381W, on
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departmental ICT, how many of the lost or stolen (a) laptops and (b) personal digital assistants have been replaced by his Department; and at what cost. [202507]

Mr. Malik: The information is as follows.

Item Number lost, missing or stolen (since 2001) Number replaced Cost of replacement (£)

Personal digital assistant (PDA)








The Department for International (DFID) has a large mobile workforce that requires the tools to enable them to work remotely. Laptops and PDA's are essential business tools for them and as such they are replaced if the originals are lost or stolen.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 1182W, on the Departmental internet, whether Wikipedia entries have been created or amended by officials in his Department who are not special advisers or communications officials. [199951]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) Officials (excluding special advisers and communication officials) have from time to time updated Wikipedia entries, and may also have created entries. In addition to the legitimate benefit that such activities can have in terms of knowledge and information sharing, DFID’s IT policy also allows private use of the web, including Wikipedia, by staff in their own time, provided such activity is in line with the Civil Service Code.

Departmental Pensions

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) rate and (b) cost was of employer contributions for each public sector pension scheme for which his Department has responsibility in each year since 1990-91; and if he will make a statement. [200708]

Gillian Merron: In respect of members of the defined benefit schemes, employer contribution rates are assessed for each of four ranges of pay levels. The rates for 2008-09 are:

Band Full-time annual salary(£) Rate from 1 April 2008 (percentage)

Band 1

19,500 and under


Band 2

19,501 to 40,500


Band 3

40,501 to 69,000


Band 4

69,001 and above


The scheme rules are laid before Parliament and copies are in the House Library.

For members of the partnership (defined contribution scheme), the employer pays a basic contribution of between 3 per cent. and 12.5 per cent. (depending on the age of the member) into a stakeholder pension product and will match the
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member's contribution up to a limit of 3 per cent. Employers also contribute a further 0.8 per cent. of pensionable salary to cover the cost of risk benefit cover (death in service and ill health retirement).

For 2007-08 Department for International Development (DFID) paid employers' contributions of £13,995,973.

Information on previous years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Developing Countries: Agriculture

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the findings and options of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development reports to be presented to the Intergovernmental Plenary; and what steps he plans to take in tackling hunger, rural poverty and environmental degradation in the light of that assessment. [199555]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a unique assessment involving governments, civil society and academics. The IAASTD reports are a useful contribution to the debate and understanding on agricultural knowledge, science and technology and its potential to reduce poverty and hunger around the world. Given increasing food prices and their impact on poor people they are also very timely. However, while presenting an overall consensus the IAASTD reports do reflect a diversity of views on some issues, for example on modern biotechnology.

My Department will be considering the options presented by the IAASTD and the implications this has for the UK’s support to developing countries on agricultural research to help tackle hunger, rural poverty and environmental degradation. Many of the issues raised by the IAASTD, for example land degradation and impact of agricultural trade on poor farmers have already been identified by DFID, and are highlighted in our new five year research strategy which I launched on 22 April.

Developing Countries: Education

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage developing countries to provide education to girls as well as boys. [202527]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 1 May 2008]: The UK Government have committed £8.5 billion for education over the 10 years to 2015-16 in support of education sector plans in developing countries.

The Department for International Development works with developing country governments to ensure gender equality is effectively addresses in education sector plans to ensure that girls, as well as boys, benefit. Our work with international and non-governmental organisations like UNICEF and the United Nations
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Girls Education Initiative, tackles social and economic barriers outside the education system that hinder girls’ participation.

Last July (2007), the Prime Minister and United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launched an MDG Call to Action to urge the international community to accelerate actions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals—including the Education goals. Girls’ education is central to both the Education MDG and the Maternal Mortality MDG—both of which are key pillars of the Call to Action.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to assist developing countries in the funding of education. [202528]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 1 May 2008]: The UK Government have committed £8.5 billion for education in developing countries over the 10 years to 2015-16. During the French President Sarkozy’s recent visit to London, the UK and France agreed to each help support 8 million children in school by 2010.

The UK Government are actively engaged in galvanising international political action in support of Education for All. The G8 reaffirmed its commitment that no country committed to Education for All will be thwarted in their efforts through lack of resources, and we continue to urge other donors to meet their promises on education.

Education is one of the key pillars of the Call to Action. We are working with the United Nations and other donors to accelerate action in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We hope to see a concrete Action Plan being agreed at the international conference, being held in New York on 25 September.

Gaza: Politics and Government

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of (a) the humanitarian situation in Gaza and (b) the effectiveness of the international community's policies to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza over the last two years. [199670]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government are extremely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza. 64 per cent. of Gaza’s population is at least partly dependent on food aid and 90 per cent. of mains water is polluted. Access through crossings between Gaza and Israel remains restricted although limited deliveries of emergency food aid, medicines and commercial items have been allowed in. However, the size and frequency of these deliveries are insufficient to meet the broader needs of the population.

The problem is not a lack of support from the international community, rather the continued restrictions on access to Gaza.

The European Commission (EC) created the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) in 2006. Before the TIM was subsumed into the new PEGASE mechanism in March 2007, the EC and European Union members provided €455 million (£361 million) of funding through it. The TIM was a successful emergency assistance mechanism and PEGASE will
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continue to provide an effective means of supporting essential services and the livelihoods of key, frontline workers. Further international community support over the past two years has been channelled through UN agencies and NGOs providing humanitarian assistance and supporting basic services.

In response to restrictions on imports into Gaza the UK and others have consistently encouraged the Government of Israel to facilitate the provision of humanitarian support. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I released a statement to this effect on 8 February and we continue to raise the matter with the Israeli authorities.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether funding for public sector salaries and the maintenance of basic services in Gaza is being provided by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank; and what contribution is being made from the UK aid budget. [200123]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Palestinian Authority provides funding for basic services such as health and education in Gaza, paying the salaries of public sector workers. During 2007-08, the UK contributed £38.45 million for Palestinian Authority services and employees in both Gaza and the West Bank through the Temporary International Mechanism, PEGASE and the new World Bank Reform Trust Fund.

India: Overseas Aid

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funds his Department provided to the (a) Food and Drug Capacity Building Project, (b) Orissa Health Systems Development Project, (c) Second National Aids Control Project, (d) Malaria Control Project and (e) Tuberculosis Control Project in India in each year from 2001-02 to 2007-08. [203569]

Mr. Malik: These five projects are World Bank projects that were the subject of a recent World Bank
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Detailed Implementation Review (DIR) which found indications of fraud and corruption. All the projects were funded by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). The UK provided around 10.4 per cent. of donor funds to IDA during the period in question. The World Bank’s Board of Directors discussed the DIR on 13 March and endorsed World Bank and Government of India Action Plans to address problems identified in the DIR.

The Department for International Development (DFID) separately supports health projects in India through its bilateral programme. During these years, DFID supported the second phase of India’s National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), through a multi-agency programme with the Government of India, UN agencies and civil society organisations. Total expenditure on this project was £4,949,875, £19,996,646, £28,606,262 and £12,032,842 in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 respectively. DFID is reviewing its support to NACP to ensure that any implications for DFID funding from the DIR are being robustly addressed.

Kenya: HIV Infection

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent in Kenya on HIV/AIDS control in each year from 2001-02 to 2007-08; and on what projects. [203570]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government’s HIV/AIDS Programme in Kenya supports the implementation of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy which aims for universal access to prevention, treatment and care. In addition, our education programme has supported the integration of a successful HIV/AIDS prevention programme in 18,500 primary schools. Details of expenditure are detailed in the following table:

£ million
Projects 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

HIV and Aids Prevention and Care Project (HAPAC)








Primary School Action for Better Health



Social Marketing of Condoms






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