The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated that remittances comprise at least 75 per cent. of the series published in the Pink Book for total payments and receipts by households and NPISH. The estimates for remittances from the UK, excluding the NPISH element, are given in the following table for each of the last three years. However, the ONS stresses that these estimates are highly uncertain. DFID is working closely with the ONS and multilateral partners to improve the data on remittances.
|Total personal remittances from the UK 2005-07
|Remittances (£ billion)
According to DFID funded research, the five largest recipients of remittances from the UK to developing countries are India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Jamaica and Ghana. On average, black and minority ethnic (BME) households send remittances three and a half times a year, although this varies by ethnic group. DFID recognises the positive impact that these money transfers can make on peoples lives in developing countries, and has an active agenda to improve the developmental impact of remittances, seeking to help make remittances cheaper, safer and more accessible. Further information on DFID funded research into remittances is available on the DFID website:
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable assessment
grade in their annual report in the latest reporting year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Guidance on performance management arrangements for the senior civil service (SCS) is issued annually by the Cabinet Office. Currently there are four performance groups with Performance Group 4 being used for the Bottom 5 to 10 per cent. of performers. People in this group should not receive a bonus and have action taken to address under performance or ongoing poor performance, including the drawing up of a Performance Improvement Plan.
For staff below the SCS, DFID operates a three tier performance management system the lowest tier being allocated to those who are Most In Need of Development. This rating is used for the poorest performers and those who have contributed least.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many applications were made to (a) the Programme Development Fund and (b) the Travel Bursary Fund in each of the last five years; how many successful applications were made to each in each year; and what the (i) value, (ii) destination, (iii) purpose and (iv) outcome was of each award made. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides funding to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) to run a scheme to raise development awareness via the broadcast media. The scheme includes a Programme Development Fund (PDF) and a Travel Bursary Fund (TBF). The number of applications to the two funds in each of the last five years, and the number of successful applications with their value, destination and outcome is given in the following table.
|Programme Development Fund
|Value( 2) (£)
|Destination of successful awards
|Outcome of awards given
3 India, 1 Zambia, 3 Sudan (Darfur), 3 Pan developing world, 1 Ethiopia, 1 Caribbean, 1 Kashmir, 1 Nepal, 1 South Africa, 1 Sierra Leone, 1 Sri Lanka, 2 projects reflected development issues and asylum seekers in the UK.
|Travel Bursary Fund
|Applications( 4 ) and awards given
|Value( 5) (£)
|Destination of Successful Awards
|Outcome of Awards Given
6 bursars achieved multiple media outputs, TV broadcasts plus online and radio and print for UK regional audiences, major coverage for the Africa Lives on the BBC was developed by independent producers, 1 major documentary is currently in development/production, and research/development for the series Africa school was successful.
14 bursars achieved multiple media outputs including a week long TV series plus radio and online for audiences in the east midlands about Uganda, major television and radio coverage of Lesotho for Wales and research/development1 for he series Indian School.
10 bursars have already achieved multiple media outputs including 1 major documentary for broadcast in December 2008. Work of 2 bursars was broadcast on radio plus also press coverage and multi-media coverage and exhibitions throughout Cardiff and south Wales. 15 producers have work in production or commissioned.
22 bursars have received either multiple media outputs (TV programmes, radio, online, photographic exhibitions, press articles) or firm commissions for the same. Many programmes and media outputs contributed to coverage of the 60th anniversary of Indian Independence. Other outputs ranged from a major documentary due for release in 2009 on Burmese refugees living in Thai camps and their relocation to the UK, slash and burn culture in Latin America, poverty and its effects in Haiti and health care in east Africa.
|(1) Applications to the PDF are made annually. All applications which are eligible for the funding are short-listed and evaluated. Only the short-listed applications are shown here.
(2) Awards from the PDF were up to a maximum of £8,000 in 2004, and £10,000 from 2005. The range of values of awards made is shown' here, not the value
(3 )To date.
(4) Applications to the TBF can be made at any time. Inquiries to the TBF are received in very large numbers, usually by phone or email, and are not logged. The scheme staff work with all potential applicants to help them develop their ideas until potential applicants are ready to submit a formal application. Only formal applications are shown here.
(5) TBF awards are up to a maximum of £10,000.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what reserves the Audit Commission holds; for what purpose the reserves are held; what the Commission's policy is on the management of its reserves; and if she will make a statement. 
Parliamentary Question on what reserves the Audit Commission holds; for what purpose the reserves are held; and what the Commission's policy is on the management of its reserves
Your Parliamentary Question on what reserves the Audit Commission holds; for what purpose the reserves are held; and what the Commissions policy is on the management of its reserves has been passed to me for reply.
The Audit Commission is a public corporation primarily funded by fees paid by audited and inspected bodies (AIBs). The Commission holds revenue reserves to fund working capital and meet expenditure in unforeseen and exceptional circumstances.
The Commissions financial statement for the year ended 31 March 2008 show a revenue reserve of £28.152 million.
The Commission's policy on the management of its reserves is to manage its cash in such a way as to avoid exceptional fees, or the need to borrow for revenue purposes. In addition, our policy is to invest our reserves with institutions with a credit rating of at least F1, subject to a maximum of £5 million with any institution.
A copy of this letter will be placed in Hansard.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average change in rents set by (a) local authorities and (b) registered social landlords was in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09; and in which year she expects the rents set by each category of landlord to converge. 
Average actual rent increases for local authorities in 2007-08 were 6.2 per cent. which equates to £3.56 per week, and for 2008-09 are 4.5 per cent. or £2.72 per week. These figures are based on un-audited housing subsidy claim forms submitted by local authorities to the Department.
Average increases in registered social landlord rents in 2007-08 were 4.9 per cent. which equates to an average increase of £3.27 per week. These figures are based on the Housing Corporation's latest annual Regulatory Statistical Return (March 2008). The increase in rents for 2008-09 will not be known until the March 2009 Regulatory Statistical Return is available.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) highest and (b) lowest level is for education, skills and training average achievement at lower super output level in each of the principal seaside towns in England and Wales in descending order, giving the name of the lower super output area affected. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of the FireGuard project board meeting of 27 October 2008. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what targets her Department has adopted for take-up rates of (a) shared ownership and (b) shared equity products. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We remain committed to the delivery of affordable housing. Our aspiration is to help 75,000 households into home ownership through our shared ownership and shared equity schemes by the end of 2010-11. We have not set individual targets for our products to ensure flexibility within the programme in light of current market conditions.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for a main homelessness duty were (a) accepted and (b) not accepted in each local authority area in each of the previous five years, broken down by the applicant's (i) age, (ii) ethnicity, (iii) priority need category and (iv) reason for loss of last settled home. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include all decisions made on applications by eligible applicants, and the number of applicants accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). These households are known as accepted households.
Data on accepted households are collected by age-band, ethnicity, priority need category and reason for loss of last settled home. A table showing data for the last five years, as reported by local authorities, has been placed in the Library. There are only three years of data for age-band as this was only collected from financial year 2005-06 onwards.
Data on households not accepted as owed a main duty are collected by ethnicity, but not the other variables requested. A table showing acceptances by reason for non-acceptance, by ethnicity, as reported by local authorities, has been placed in the Library.