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Recent progress includes the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1820 in June this year, focussing on longer-term measures to tackle sexual violence in conflict, and a Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security which reiterated the need to strengthen the participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The UK played a major role in this debate and drafted a presidential statement that was adopted by the Council on 29 October. This called on the Secretary-General to appoint more women to senior operational UN positions and to provide the Security Council with a report and recommendations on this issue. By working closely with the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the UK is also making good progress on its aim to ensure that planning for Peace Support Operations includes gender components, and that they recruit more female military and police personnel.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many staff in his Department left under (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 2005-06; how many of them in each case were paid (i) up to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000 in the year before they left; and how much (A) was spent in each of those years and (B) is planned to be spent on such schemes in (1) 2008-09 and (2) 2009-10 by his Department; 
(2) how many of his Department's staff who left under (a) an involuntary and (b) a voluntary exit scheme in each year since 2005-06 received a severance package of (i) up to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000; and if he will make a statement. 
|Up to £25,000||£25,001 to £50,000||£50,001 to £75,000||£75,001 to £100,000||Over £100,000||Total|
|(1) One member of staff was on a career break, so no salary was paid in the year before departure|
(2) Three staff were on career breaks, so no salary was paid to them in the year before departure.
Compensation for early departure, is paid from the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. DFID meets the cost of early departures, including the cost of lump sum severance payments and the additional cost of any benefits beyond the normal Civil Service Pension Scheme benefits in respect of those employees who retire early.
The following table shows the total cost of early departure made by DFID in each year since 2005-06, which in some cases is spread over a number of years until the individual attains pension age but is recorded against the year in which departure was first agreed. It would incur disproportionate cost to provide the costs incurred in each year for each departure.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the Stabilisation Unit's performance against its aim of improving its understanding of the tasks involved in a stabilisation effort in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
The Stabilisation Unit seeks continually to learn lessons from the UK's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as from other partners and theatres. Its understanding of stabilisation is summarised in two documents. In June 2008, the Stabilisation Unit produced its Stabilisation Task Matrix, which describes a menu of tasks which might be required to achieve stability and suggests who would need to take lead responsibility (the military, the police or civilians) for each task in non-permissive and permissive environments. The primary purpose of the Matrix is to
enable the UK to further develop its capability to meet future challenges. The Matrix will be reviewed by spring 2009. Later this month, the Stabilisation Unit will also publish the UK Approach to Stabilisation, which will describe emerging UK experience and best practice.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the Stabilisation Unit's performance against its aim of improving capacity to finance stabilisation activities to achieve desired effects in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. 
In April 2008, the UK Government established the Stabilisation Aid Fund (SAF) as a shared budget to support stabilisation activities. The SAF has improved the effectiveness of UK stabilisation operations by requiring and enabling a more integrated approach to their development, management and delivery.
I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2578W, to the hon. Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer), regarding the role of the Stabilisation Unit in respect of the Stabilisation Aid Fund.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the Stabilisation Unit's performance against its aim of getting SMARTer at delivering key enablers in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government have made significant progress in the past year, to ensure that key enablers (transport, accommodation, communications, and close protection) are in place in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In Afghanistan, the UK Government have leased a Beechcraft to provide a shuttle run between Kabul and Lashkar Gah and to increase our reach elsewhere in the country. We expect to increase this capability in this next year. Access to rotary assets has improved but remains perhaps the greatest constraint on civilian movement. There are now sufficient vehicles in theatre (or on order) to meet the requirement. The construction of permanent office and personal accommodation for civilian teams in Sangin, Musa Qala, Gereshk and Garmsir has enabled the UK Government to dramatically improve their engagement with communities to deliver the UK strategy in Helmand.
The Stabilisation Unit maintains a rapidly-deployable expeditionary capability including armoured vehicles, deployable accommodation, and communications. We will be reviewing this capability early next year to identify any possible enhancements required.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development by what means the Stabilisation Unit develops and maintains operating capacity in support of stabilisation operations in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Stabilisation Unit primarily delivers through the civilian experts it deploys. It is taking a number of steps to improve its ability to provide high quality experts on as sustainable basis, to Afghanistan, Iraq and other theatres. There are two principal initiatives.
First, in August it started a nine month process to improve the quality of its database of civilian experts by turning it from a list of 900 people where most experts have only been subject to a basic paper sift to one where all experts will have been assessed face-to-face against professional and behavioural requirements. This greater understanding will enable the Unit to improve its ability to respond to demands for experts.
Second, civilian experts need to be properly prepared to work and live in what can be professionally challenging and austere conditions. The unit is improving its existing training prior to their deployment. By December the unit will complete the design of a more extensive structured, tailored development programme for deploying experts to Afghanistan with implementation on a pilot basis starting in January 2009.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department proposes should be taken to address the shortfalls in funding for the World Food Programme's operations in Zimbabwe; and what assessment has been made of the effects of those shortfalls on the provision of humanitarian aid in the country. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government have contributed £9 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) appeal for Zimbabwe this year, making it the second largest donor to this appeal so far. We are encouraging other donors who have not yet done so to make a contribution. We are also working with WFP on the ground to review ways of ensuring that the current supply of food aid is used to maximum effect. Donor contributions so far have ensured that WFP operations are fully funded until January 2009.
A national nutritional survey, conducted by the UN, is almost complete. As soon as the data are available, we will be able to assess with more confidence the effects of current food shortages and the case for a further contribution. We will also be weighing the need for further food aid against other life-saving humanitarian priorities.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the budget was for the recent repairs to 11 Downing Street; whether planning permission was required; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the schedule of the works (a) undertaken to date and (b) planned. 
Angela Eagle: The Treasury pays a contribution to the Cabinet Office for the rent and service charge of the space used by HM Treasury and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer within the Downing Street estate. There are no separate charges for maintenance and renovation. Costs incurred on refurbishments and improvements to the Downing Street complex in 2008-09 will be available when the Cabinet Office resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department (a) has commissioned, (b) plans to commission and (c) has evaluated on trends in the numbers of people who (i) exceed their overdraft limit and (ii) have a cheque or direct debit refused; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: On 16 July 2008, the OFT published the results of its market study into personal current accounts, which considered customers who exceeded arranged overdraft limits and had insufficient funds to meet cheque and direct debit payments. The OFTs report is available at:
On 4 November, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) published a consultation document, Regulating retail banking conduct of business (CP08/19), on proposed reforms of the regulation of retail banking services.
Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what commitments were given to him during the first week of October by the Icelandic finance minister in relation to obligations to British depositors. 
Ian Pearson: [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The Chancellor had a number of conversations throughout October with the Icelandic Finance Minister and Icelandic Prime Minister, and no commitments were provided.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when his Department received its first Value For Money programme report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; and what assessment he has made of the report. 
Departments are responsible for delivering, monitoring and reporting on progress against their CSR07 VFM targets and will report on initial
progress in their autumn performance reports. The National Audit Office have agreed to audit reported gains on a departmental basis during the course of the programme.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1669W, on council tax: valuation, if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance provided to Valuation Office Agency staff on using the Agencys council tax banding support tool. 
Mr. Timms: The guidance provided to Valuation Office Agency Staff known as MAT2 Case Worker ApplicationUser Guide will be placed in the Library. Any commercially sensitive or confidential information has been redacted.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies spent on (i) recruitment consultants and (ii) external recruitment advertising to recruit staff in each of the last five financial years; which recruitment consultants were employed for those purposes in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 16 October 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 116W to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban). In 2007-08 the total spend for advertising costs was £381,000, the majority of the Treasurys spending on advertising is for the purpose of recruitment. Information on recruitment consultants used in the last five years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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