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13 Oct 2008 : Column 986W—continued

Iraq: Education

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the education system in Iraq. [224992]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Since 2003, the Department for International Development (DFID) has not provided any direct financial assistance to develop the education sector in Iraq. We have, however, contributed £70 million to the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI), which encompasses two trust funds administered by the United Nations and World Bank. 25 donors have committed over $1.8 billion to IRFFI since 2003. This money has been used to provide assistance in a range of sectors and development projects across Iraq. In the education sector, the UN has now allocated from IRFFI $190 million and the World Bank $106 million on 29 projects which include the rehabilitation of schools, the provision of essential text books, and the training of Iraqi teachers.

Iraq: Employment

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent support the Government have given to the development of employment opportunities in Iraq. [224993]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: We believe that the best way to develop employment opportunities in Iraq is to support the Iraqis to stimulate economic growth through the private sector. To achieve this, the UK is supporting two institutions—the Basra Development Commission (BDC) and Basra Investment Commission (BIC). The Department for International Development (DFID) is also looking at ways to improve the availability of credit to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Co-chaired by Michael Wareing, the CEO of KPMG International, the BDC is bringing international and regional private sector expertise to Southern Iraq, and working on a range of economic projects. Most recently,
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the BDC launched a youth employment scheme (YES) which aims to provide an initial 500 vocational training placements for unemployed youths to work with local businesses, after which the businesses will offer them permanent employment. This scheme is modelled on best practice adopted by Business in the Community in the UK.

The BDC is also working with the Iraqi National Investment Commission (NIC) to facilitate visits to Iraq for the investors interested in commercial opportunities—11 such visits have now taken place. These investors are looking at taking forward projects with a potential value in excess of $4 billion and employing 1,200 to 1,500 people in the first year alone.

Katacha: Overseas Aid

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the Government's contribution to provision of food, medicine, education and army disengagement in the Katacha homeland is. [224602]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development's (DFID) contributions in 2008 through the Common Humanitarian Fund for humanitarian and early recovery activities in Southern Kordofan are:

$

Education and culture

660,000

Health and nutrition

1,076,000

Security and livelihoods

1,191,000


It is not possible to disaggregate these figures for the Katcha homeland. DFID also contributes to the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), which in 2007 provided at least US$9 million for South Kordofan.

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has promoted and supported the integration of informal militia into the armed forces of the Northern and Southern Governments, as well as the redeployment of these forces. The UK Government have worked closely with UNMIS on this, including in Southern Kordofan, and provide financial support indirectly through their assessed contributions to the UN in New York.

Overseas Aid

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the £264 million in centrally-issued contracts in 2007-08 was distributed amongst aid agencies. [224144]

Mr. Michael Foster: Details of all centrally issued contracts since January 2005 are available on the Department for International Development's website;

This includes the project/programme title, name of supplier, the related sector and contract award value. Low value contracts issued by our overseas offices are not recorded centrally and it would incur disproportionate cost to collate this information.


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Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the international development spending by the devolved Administrations is included in his Department's calculation of the UK's total official development assistance; and if he will make a statement. [225577]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK's reporting of official development assistance (ODA) has included data on the Scottish Government’s aid programme since 2005. No data are reported for the Welsh Assembly Government or the Northern Ireland Executive.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the financial position was of each recipient country's allocated budget, with regard to (a) allocation, (b) draw down and (c) expenditure, in each of the last five years. [225860]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 106W. Further information is available in the Department for International Development's (DFID) Annual Report which is available online:

Pakistan: Overseas Aid

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 21 July 2008, Official Report, column 792W, on Pakistan: overseas aid, if he will place in the Library a copy of the last annual review of his Department's funding to North West Frontier Province. [225628]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: We are unable to provide a single annual review of our funding activities in North West Frontier Province, as our annual reviews are undertaken on an individual programme and project basis rather than by province.

To date our support to North West Frontier Province has been provided mainly through federal level programmes (for example in health). Our portfolio with the provincial government is relatively new and only one programme, the Rural Water and Sanitation Programme, has so far been subject to an annual review. A copy of this review will be placed in the Library.

Palestinians: Humanitarian Aid

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) amount and (b) proportion of the Government's contribution to the additional humanitarian funding for the Palestinian Authority pledged by the European Union at the United Nations on Monday 22 September is. [225062]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Commission (EG) pledged an additional €82 million in financial support to the Palestinian Authority's budget, including €1 million in earmarked funding from Austria. It will be used to help pay for salaries and pensions, social allowances to vulnerable Palestinian families and fuel for the power plant to provide electricity to the people of Gaza.


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The UK's overall share of the EC budget for 2008 is 15.8 per cent., which implies that the UK share of the €81 million pledge is €12.8 million (£10.1 million). The UK has directly provided a further £50.45 million in bilateral financial support to the Palestinian Authority's budget in 2008.

South America: Research

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what companies are contracted to carry out the £50 million project for research and capacity building in Latin America and Asia; and how they were chosen. [224139]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) in partnership with the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) have just completed scoping studies to identify priority themes and geographic locations for the proposed climate change adaptation in Asia and Latin America research programme. The Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET) carried out the Asia work. The Foundation for the Future of Latin America (Fundacion Futuro Lationoamerica - FFLA) carried out the Latin America work. Both organisations were contracted by IDRC. We are currently considering the results of these studies.

DFID will be able to comment on plans for implementation when the detailed programme design is completed.

South Asia: Childbirth

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2008, Official Report, column 1042W, on South Asia: childbirth, what assessment he has made of the effects of his Department's funding for India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal on the proportion of births attended by a skilled attendant in those countries; what the child mortality rate has been in each country in each year since 1998-99; and what initiatives his Department has utilised to reduce child mortality and increase the provision of skilled attendants at birth in those countries. [223851]

Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides funding in South Asia to the governments of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to strengthen health services. This includes initiatives to increase the provision of skilled attendants at birth, and to reduce infant and child mortality. For details of DFID funded programmes you may refer to my answer of 18 June 2008 Official Report, column 1042W.

Currently close to half of women in India and a third of women in Pakistan are being assisted by a skilled birth attendant at delivery. There has been substantial progress since the early 1990s, when only one third of women in India and one fifth of women in Pakistan were assisted by a skilled birth attendant. Bangladesh and Nepal have also recorded improvements in skilled birth attendance rates over the past five years. In 2006 one fifth of women in these countries was delivered by a skilled birth attendant.


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DFID has been assessing progress in skilled birth attendants and reductions in infant and child mortality in partnership with country Governments, UN and other development organizations. DFID support for assessment includes the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and district health and facility surveys in India; in Pakistan, the Federal Bureau of Statistics, and in Bangladesh, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR.B); in Nepal, maternal mortality and morbidity studies and vital registration systems. Progress on skilled birth attendance and child mortality rates for South Asia countries are set out in the following table.

Country Skilled birth attendant rates (%) Under-five mortality (deaths per 1,000 live births)

India

1998-99

43

95

2005-06

47

74

Bangladesh

1999-2000

12

94

2006

20

65

Pakistan

1990-91

19

117

2006-07

39(1)

94

Nepal

2001

11

91

2006

19

61

(1) The 18 June 2008 response to PQ 211728 referred to a figure of 54 per cent. of births in Pakistan attended by a skilled attendant. This is for first order births only. The figure for all births is 39 per cent.
Source:
Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal; National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in India; Government of Bangladesh.

UN Convention on Watercourses

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has for the UK’s accession to the UN Convention on the Law of Non-Navigable Uses of International Watercourses; and if he will make a statement. [222231]

Mr. Thomas: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Mitchell) on 17 March 2007, Official Report, column 828W.

Youth Parliaments

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which overseas youth parliaments his Department has funded in the last five years; and how much his Department has provided for each. [226180]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided the following support to youth parliaments and related programmes:


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DFID is providing £800,000 to the Commonwealth Youth Programme (2008-09), managed by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The programme supports the organisation of national youth councils in Commonwealth member states, and regional caucuses of young people, through which they can debate the issues of the day with Ministers responsible for youth.

Over the past two years, DFID funding has also supported a five-day Children's Parliament in Namibia, as part of a Southern Africa regional programme of support to the UNICEF "Children and AIDS Regional Initiative". The programme has also established forums through which children engage with and learn about legislative processes in South Africa, and national and district level governance. These activities form part of the wider £18 million regional programme.

Treasury

Bank Notes

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which banks are authorised to issue their own bank notes; and in what circumstances such authority would be revoked. [225498]

Ian Pearson: The Bank of England is authorised to issue notes throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, Bank of Scotland plc, the Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Clydesdale Bank plc are authorised to issue in Scotland; and the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank Ltd., First Trust Bank (a trading name of AIB Group (UK) plc) and Northern Bank Ltd. are authorised to issue in Northern Ireland.

If any of these commercial banks should become bankrupt, cease to carry on the business of a banker, or discontinue the issue of bank notes, it may not issue notes thereafter.

Child Benefit: Telephone Services

Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of callers to the Child Benefit Helpline whose call was logged with the promise of a call back received a call back in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [225583]

Mr. Timms: The information requested is not available.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the length of time is of the automated message on the Child Benefit Helpline; and if he will make a statement. [225584]

Mr. Timms: HMRC uses several different automated messages on the Child Benefit Helpline. These include messages played when the customer is first connected, at particularly busy times and when the customer is held in a queue. The length of message varies from 10 seconds to 27 seconds.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost per minute is of calls made to the Child Benefit Helpline; and if he will make a statement. [225585]


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