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Jonathan Shaw: The Department currently has two contracts with Vertex Data Science Ltd., the Management of Clerical Cases Contract for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission and the National Benefit Fraud Help line Contract for Jobcentre Plus. Vertex is also one of a panel of seven providers to support the recovery of child maintenance arrears, however, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has yet to transfer any debt management cases to Vertex under this Framework Agreement.
John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the (a) cost and (b) administrative expenditure which would be incurred by paying winter fuel payments on a pro-rata basis to those who attain the qualifying age after the qualifying period (i) as a transitional measure in the year 2008-09 and (ii) on average per year from 2008-09. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 12 January 2009]: Entitlement to winter fuel payments is based upon people's circumstances in the qualifying week (set in legislation as 3rd Monday in September). Using the September qualifying week means that the payments can be made before Christmas in time for when winter fuel bills arrive.
The additional costs incurred by paying winter fuel payments on a pro-rata basis to those who reach the qualifying age during the period after the qualifying week but before the end of the financial year are approximately £40 million in 2008-09.
Figures are based on 2008 ONS population projections. Costs for any given year will vary with population fluctuations.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with reference to the answer from the Prime Minister of 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 821W, on 10 Downing Street, for what reason
the Cabinet Office has declined to place in the Library a list of the merchandise available in the Downing Street gift shop. 
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what expert advisers have been commissioned by his Department and its agencies since 1997; on what topic each was commissioned; and whether the advisers so appointed made a declaration of political activity in each case. 
The Cabinet Office sponsors a number of advisory non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) which provide independent expert advice on a number of issues. Appointments to NDPBs are governed by the principles set out in the Commissioner for Public Appointments code of practice. Summary information is published in Public Bodies which can be accessed online at:
Summary information on the political activity of individuals appointed to posts regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments code of practice is published each year in the commissioners annual report.
In addition, the Government publish on an annual basis the names and numbers of special advisers in each pay band. For the most recent information, I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 99-102WS.
Kevin Brennan: The NAO has been investigating the effectiveness, impact and value for money of Government investment in building the capacity of the third sector, and plans to report in early February. Both Capacitybuilders and Futurebuilders have commissioned independent evaluation of their programmes. Local third sector infrastructure organisations have benefited from the programmes delivered by Capacitybuilders. Organisations that received Futurebuilders investments subsequently succeeded in winning public service delivery contracts.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of the recommendations relevant to the Government Equalities Offices policy responsibilities made in the Foresight report on Mental Capacity and Well-Being; and if she will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: While I welcome the far ranging nature of the report and its recommendations, I have not carried out a formal assessment of their specific relevance to the work of the Government Equalities Office.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales to which (a) charities and (b) voluntary organisations his Department has provided funding in the last five years; and how much funding was provided to each. 
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information his Department holds on the (a) sex, (b) ethnicity, (c) age, (d) disability, (e) sexual orientation and (f) religion or belief of its staff; and what assessment he has made of his Department's performance against its targets relating to diversity in its workforce. 
The equal opportunities policies used during recruitment delivers the Wales Office a diverse work force without the need to set targets. Levels of diversity are published in our annual report each year. In 2007-08 approximately 14 per cent. of the Offices staff were of ethnic minority groups, and 51 per cent. of staff were female.
Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office generally procures its furniture through Ministry of Justice contracts. The amount the Department has directly spent on furniture from British firms for each financial year since 2005-06 is detailed in the following table. Information for the years prior to 2005-06 could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost. The Department did not directly buy any furniture from Remploy or overseas firms.
|(1 )No expenditure to date|
Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office is provided with its IT services by the Ministry of Justice, including internet access. Users connect to the internet through the Government Secure Intranet service, which is provided by Cable and Wireless.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to ensure that those temporary and permanent employees at the same grade in his Department who are paid at an hourly rate are paid at the same rate. 
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by his Department for public access to services. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which companies were used by his Department for providing temporary staff in each of the last five years; and what the value of contracts with each such company was in each of those years. 
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of the £600 million of aid pledged to Afghanistan in June 2008 he expects to be spent in each year to 2012-13. 
Mr. Michael Foster: At the Paris donor conference on 12 June the UK pledged £800 million, of which £613 million was new money, towards the international development effort in Afghanistan (2009-10 to 2012-13). This figure comprises contributions from the Department for International Development (DFID), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Afghanistan Drugs Interdepartmental Unit (ADIDU), and the tri-departmental Stabilisation Aid Fund (SAF).
In 2008-09 DFID expects to disburse £123 million in Afghanistan. Due to the humanitarian, security and political situation our future programme must be flexible, therefore there is no fixed disbursement for the coming years. However, we fully expect to meet our £460 million share of the Paris pledge by 2012-13.
The FCO, ADIDU and SAF allocations for Afghanistan beyond this financial year have not yet been finalised for the same reason. The FCO and ADIDU are planning to spend around £25 million in 2008-09. In addition Afghanistan has been allocated £48 million under the SAF for the same year.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on the (a) likelihood and (b) likely extent of famine in Afghanistan; what assessment he has made of Afghanistan's need for aid this winter; and if he will make a statement 
DFID works closely with other donors to assess Afghanistan's need for food aid. In 2008 the World Food Programme (WFP) launched two appeals to which DFID contributed a combined total of £11 million. The WFP has already delivered 96 per cent. of the 36,000 metric tonnes of food designated to vulnerable people in Afghanistan. The WFP confirmed that there is sufficient food in the pipeline until March 2009.
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