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Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been spent by his Department on Plain English Campaign training courses for its staff in each year since 2005. 
Mr. Michael Foster: It is not possible, without incurring disproportionate costs, to provide the amount spent on Plain English Campaign training courses by the Department for International Development for its staff in each year since 2005.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many documents produced by his Department were submitted to the Plain English Campaign for approval for Crystal Mark status in each year since 2005; and how many documents achieved such status in each year. 
Mr. Michael Foster: Since 2005 the Department for International Development (DFID) has submitted one document to the Plain English Campaign, which achieved crystal mark status. This was the popular version of the 2006 White PaperEliminating world poverty: making governance work for the poor.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what use his Department makes of data obtained from earth observation satellites; and what payment is made for such data where applicable. 
Mr. Thomas: During humanitarian crises DFID occasionally makes use of UNOSAT the operational satellite applications programme of the UN Institute for Training and Research. UNOSAT provides the international community with access to satellite imagery via the internet and free of charge. During the Georgia-Russia conflict in August imagery provided by UNOSAT highlighted the deleterious impact of hostilities on civilian infrastructure and the environment.
Under the multi-donor Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF), to which the UK is contributing £50 million out of a total fund value to date of £100 million, DFID has allocated an additional £8 million for start-up projects that will promote forest conservation in the Congo Basin region. One of these projects, with a budget of £1.14 million, involves a high-resolution camera that will be fixed to a Brazilian satellite. This camera will allow for more effective monitoring of forest use. Another project will allocate up to £1.5 million for the development of a satellite data receiver in central Africa which will expand the knowledge base about forest use and make images easily accessible to regional governments and civil society.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Stabilisation Unit reports through the Department for the International Development (DFID), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) to the National Security, International Relations and Development (Overseas and Development) Committee which is chaired by my right hon. Friend, the Foreign Secretary. Strategic direction at official level is provided by quarterly meetings of the three Departments at director level. The unit is accountable administratively for its staff and finances to DFID's Permanent Secretary.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the progress being made towards meeting the fourth Millennium Development Goal on infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The target for Millennium Development Goal Four (MDG 4) is to reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that MDG 4 is off track in sub-Saharan Africa, as shown by data published in the United Nations' (UN) latest MDG report. In 1990 the under-five mortality rate was 184 per 1,000, and by 2006 it had only fallen to 157 (compared with the 2015 target of 61). The MDG report notes that
despite progress, deaths of under five children remain unacceptably high.
Although MDG 4 is off track there have been areas of progress and the MDG is achievable by 2015 if action is taken now to implement proven interventions. DFID's commitments include to provide 20 million insecticide treated bed nets in the next three years as
part of the fight against malaria, and to spend £6 billion on health systems and services between 2008 and 2015, a significant proportion of which will be in Africa.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many poor people there were in sub-Saharan Africa in 1990; and what estimate he has made of the projected number in 2015. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The number of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa in 1990, using the international poverty line ($1.25 at day at 2005 purchasing power parities), was estimated at 284 million. While the number below this international poverty line had risen to 384 million by 2005, this actually represented a drop in the proportion of poor in the total population of sub-Saharan Africa from 55 per cent. in 1990 to 50 per cent. 2005.
http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/0,,contentMDK:21882162 ~pagePK:64165401~piPK:64165026~ theSitePK:469382.00.html
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on promoting and raising awareness of the business rates rate relief scheme in the last financial year. 
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had with the Department for Work and Pensions on community allowance pilots. 
Mr. Khan: We jointly announced with the Department for Work and Pensions in Communities in Control: real people, real power (CM7427) that the CREATE consortium could pilot the community allowance within the existing benefits and permitted work structure. This was part of ongoing discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions to explore how to promote paid community work for out of work benefit claimants to improve their chances of moving into work and benefit the community in which they live.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received on bringing the Cornish under the terms of the Framework Convention on National Minorities. 
Mr. Khan: The Department for Communities and Local Government has no record of any representations received during the last year on bringing the Cornish under the terms of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The Government's position on this matter was set out by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn) in response to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George) on 6 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1871-72W.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities built council houses in 2007; and how many houses were completed by each authority in that year. 
Margaret Beckett: The 11 local authorities which built council dwellings in 2007-08 were: Durham, Bolton, Blackpool UA, Preston, South Holland, Shrewsbury and Atcham, South Shropshire, Broadland, Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Ashford.
|Local authority||Number of council dwellings completed in 2007-08|
| Source: New build completions from P2 quarterly returns submitted by local authorities and the National House-Building Council (NHBC). The local authority level figures are as reported and do not include estimates for missing returns.|
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Valuation Office Agencys local authority liaison meeting of 23 July 2008, what assessment (a) her Department and (b) the Audit Commission has made of the effect on local authority costs of council tax backdating. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the likely maximum percentage rise in council tax in 2009-10 for a local authority to avoid capping. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on the research by the Roger Tym Partnership/Three Dragons on council tax and empty properties; and whether an interim or final report has been submitted to her Department. 
John Healey: An interim report was not part of the research specification. Communities and Local Government are currently working with the Roger Tym Partnership/Three Dragons in finalising the report of their work.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the maximum period of residency is for a second adult in a household before that dwelling ceases to qualify for a single person's council tax discount; and what the process is for assessing residency in such cases. 
John Healey: There is no maximum period. A dwelling ceases to qualify for the single person's discount when it becomes the sole or main residence of a second adult, unless that second adult falls to be disregarded for these purposes under schedule 1 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992. It is for the billing authority to assess residency in such cases.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Valuation Office Agency continues to use property information from Rightmove.co.uk plc for council tax valuations and revaluations. 
John Healey: The Valuation Office Agency accesses information held by Rightmove.co.uk plc as a cost-effective means of gathering facts about properties to support its work. This work includes maintaining council tax valuation lists, but (does not currently include revaluation) as there is no council tax revaluation taking place in England.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost to her Department of provision of office facilities to (a) special advisers and (b) press officers (i) was in the last 12 months and (ii) has been since 1997-98. 
The hon. Member may wish to refer to The White Book, published by COI. This is available in the Library of the House and contains a listing for members of the Department's communications directorate. The book is updated twice yearly.
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