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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many citizens juries his Department has held since 1 July 2007; what the cost was of each; what issues were discussed at each event; and how many (a) Ministers and (b) members of the public attended each event. 
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on the DFID retreats defined by Account 2103, Group 210 in his Departments Chart of Accounts in the last year for which audited figures are available. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
The Chart of Accounts code 2103 is held within our new accounting system, which is currently being implemented in a phased rollout, which
will be completed in 2009. Information migrated from existing systems to the new system is not currently held at this level. It is not currently possible to disaggregate costs in respect of departmental retreats without incurring a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what proportion of written Questions for answer on a named day his Department has answered on the due date in the current session of Parliament to date. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) has received 247 parliamentary questions for named day written answer in the current session. 87 per cent. were answered on the specified date.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been spent on education in emergencies since his Department announced the Education Beyond Borders initiative in April 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: When deciding how to allocate resources for emergencies, the Department for International Development (DFID) takes its lead from the UN assessments of humanitarian needs, supplemented by our own specialists.
In 2007-08 DFID spent £7,214,881 directly on education in emergencies, £2,396,302 of which was in Africa. In addition, DFID spent £37,903,673 on multi-sectoral projects around the world, of which £4,027,628 was spent on education in Africa.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the policy change announced in the Education Beyond Borders initiative in April 2007 was communicated to his Departments staff in the field. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Education Beyond Borders initiative announced in April 2007 set out the Department for International Developments (DFID) plans for delivering education to children affected by emergencies, particularly those resulting from conflict or living in fragile states. Following the announcement the details were reported to all DFID staff through DFIDs internal communications system and more directly with relevant country offices to provide appropriate policy assistance for implementing plans for supporting education in fragile environments.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria are used to assess the suitability of funding specific emergencies;
and how much is set aside for this purpose in addition to the £58 million of core funding allocated to humanitarian organisations. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) responds to humanitarian emergencies according to an assessment of objective criteria of need and the internationally accepted principles of impartiality and neutrality. For immediate rapid response DFID each year sets aside around £15 million which can then be supplemented with additional DFID funding in the event of a major disaster, such as recently for cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided $446,634 to support the activities of local civil society organisations in the Nuba Mountains through an FCO, DFID and Peace Building Fund.
In 2008 DFID has also provided around $123,000 to civil society organisations in South Kordofan through the Common Humanitarian Fund. It is not possible to disaggregate this figure for the Nuba Mountains.
DFID also contributes to the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) which, from its inception in September 2005 up to the end of 2007, has provided an estimated $26.13 million in funding for Southern Kordofan. It is not possible to disaggregate this figure for the Nuba Mountains, or what support was given to civil society organisations.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) women aged between 16 and 60 years and (b) men aged between 16 and 64 years in the United Kingdom have never paid national insurance contributions as a consequence of paid employment; and how many of these are classed as able to work. 
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans next to review the limit set on the sum received by an individual from an occupational pension which may be taken into account in the calculation of that person's incapacity benefit entitlement. 
The amount of pension income that can be disregarded is reviewed as part of the annual benefit uprating exercise. The disregard is already more generous than that used
in similar provisions in other benefits like jobseeker's allowance, but we will continue to keep the position under review.
John Bercow: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was received by UK companies for arms sales to Colombia in each of the last five years. 
The Government do however publish information on the export licence applications it processes each year by destination. This includes the monetary value of items for which licences have been granted, and a summary of the items covered by these licences.
This information is available in the Governments annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. The annual reports for the last five years are available from the Libraries of the House and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website at:
John Battle: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the statement by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry during the Second Reading of the Consumer Credit Bill of 9 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1405-06, what recent reviews his Department has undertaken of the need for caps on interest rates in the sub-prime lending market. 
Mr. Thomas: In line with the commitments made during the passage of the Consumer Credit Act 2006, the Government will review their policy on interest rate caps after the Act has been in force for three years with regard to all available evidence. The Department has not undertaken any specific reviews of the need for caps on interest rates since 2004, but my officials are keeping abreast of all academic research into this area and are currently in discussions with researchers who are examining the impact of similar reforms in Japan.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the
contribution of the public sector-led broadband initiative NYnet to the economic competitiveness of North Yorkshire; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: BERR has not made an assessment of the contribution of NYnet to the economic competitiveness of North Yorkshire, but Regeneris Consulting and Adroit Economics were commissioned by Yorkshire Forward to carry out an evaluation of Yorkshire Forwards contribution to the North Yorkshire broadband programme, which included a look at future impacts of NYnet, as it was too early to make judgment on actual impact. The report is not yet publicly available.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what criteria and performance measures his Department uses to assess the performance of industry regulators. 
Ian Pearson: Regulatory agencies in the UK cover a wide-range of sectors and activities. There are currently some 40 national regulatory bodies, 10 economic regulators and some 468 local authorities, all of which regulate industry in some way.
There are a wide range of performance measures used in respect of their work: these will commonly feature in the relevant annual reports and (in the case of local authorities) in a range of nationally-set performance indicators led by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Economic regulators report directly to Parliament.
The Better Regulation Executive in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has worked with the National Audit Office to develop a process of external review of regulatory performance against the principles of the 2005 Hampton Report (HM Treasury 2005). These are known as Hampton Implementation Reviews' and are being conducted on all 40 national regulatory bodies.
The purpose of these reviews is to assess how well national regulators are following the Hampton principles which are in essence the criteria. The reviews encourage best practice and continuous improvement among regulators. They do not include quantitative performance measures.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he has had discussions with representatives of citizens' advice bureaux to discuss potential closures of citizens' advice bureaux; and if he will make a statement. 
I have not had any discussions with representatives from Citizens Advice, the organisation which provides the umbrella body to support the Citizens Advice Service, nor from individual Citizens Advice Bureaux on potential closures of bureaux. While Central Government provide funding to Citizens Advice, it does not fund individual bureaux, which receive their core
funding mainly from their local authority. They will be best placed to decide which advice agencies should be supported locally.
Colin Challen: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what agencies or units for which his Department is responsible require the public to make telephone calls to them on numbers which charge more than the national call rate; and how much income each such agency derived from such charges in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 9 October 2008]: From the central records available the Department has no public telephone contact numbers which charge more than the standard BT national call rate. The Department does not receive any income from its contact numbers.
Joan Walley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to seek to secure the reduction of US import tariffs on catering products; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: Reduction in global tariffs, including those applied by the US on imports of catering products, are being negotiated through the multilateral Doha Development Agenda trade talks. If an agreement is concluded on the basis of current proposals US tariffs on catering goods will fall to below 8 per cent.
Ian Pearson [holding answer 14 October 2008]: The Financial Services Authority is responsible for regulating insurance companies headquartered in the UK. In addition to the high level principle that all insurance firms should treat their customers fairly, the FSA have issued two specific rules that apply to renewals.
Insurance Conduct of Business Sourcebook (ICOBS) 6.1.5R states that a firm must provide appropriate information in good time to allow the customer to make an informed decision about the arrangements proposed.
Good time' is determined by ICOBS 6.1.8G: in determining what is in good time', a firm should consider the importance of the information to the customer's decision-making process and the point at which the information may be most useful.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to encourage mobile network operators to reduce their text and data roaming charges for customers travelling abroad. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 6 October 2008]: The communications sector is subject to regulation under the Communications Act 2003 which implements the overarching European legislation in this area. That European legislation was amended in 2007 by a regulation to address the problem of the high cost of voice roaming while abroad. The regulation acknowledged that the costs of SMS and data roaming would need to be reviewed with a view to further regulation if the relevant charges did not decline through market forces.
In the light of their review of that regulation, the Commission has proposed an amending regulation to extend the present regulation of voice calls, establish a ceiling for the costs of text messages sent while abroad, and a ceiling on the wholesale charges that apply to data roaming (this largely relates to mobile internet access through laptops and phones). While the detail of the regulation has still to be negotiated, the proposal offers the prospect of real gains to UK consumers over and above the competitive packages already on offer in the UK, and the UK Government will be working with European partners to achieve that result.
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