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15 May 2009 : Column 1095W—continued

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Developing Countries: Economic Situation

Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist developing countries to mitigate the effects on them of the economic downturn. [275070]

Mr. Michael Foster: The UK Government have taken various steps through different channels to mitigate the adverse effects of the economic crisis on developing countries. These include:

Through its leadership, the UK was instrumental in the announcements made at the London Summit to increase the resources of the IMF including the extension of special drawing rights (SDRs) which will provide vital assistance to developing countries facing short-term balance-of-payments problems. In total, an additional $50 billion was made available to low income countries (LICs).

In March this year, DFID pledged £200 million towards the rapid social response fund to be administrated by the World Bank providing immediate help to meet the daily needs of the poorest people in the poorest countries in the economic downturn.

DFID continues to work closely with our development partners and international financial institutions to ensure that developing countries are provided with timely and effective assistance—e.g. capital increases for the Asian Development Bank; reforms to the exogenous shock facility (ESF).

DFID will be spending more on its bilateral programmes than ever before—2009-10 budget is £2.6 billion. We remain committed to achieving the target of 0.7 per cent. of gross national income (GNI) devoted to official development assistance (ODA) by 2013.

Country programmes are designed to be flexible to respond to changing needs. Where appropriate, existing scheduled country programme spend has been adjusted accordingly.

Overseas Aid

Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he made of the implications for his Department's overseas development projects of the outcome of the spring meetings of the World Bank; and if he will make a statement. [275069]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There are no direct implications for the Department of International Development's (DFID) bilateral programmes from the outcome of the World Bank spring meetings.

The spring meetings helped to underline support for optimal use of the Bank's balance sheet, with lending of up to $100 billion over three years. The UK, along with other shareholders, welcomed Bank initiatives to protect the poorest, reinvigorate trade finance, maintain investment in infrastructure and support the financial sector. We
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expect these initiatives to complement DFID's own programmes and projects in the countries in which we work together.

Palestinians: Bomb Disposal

Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department is giving to the disposal of unexploded munitions in Gaza. [274992]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided funding of £641,000 directly to Mines Action Group and the UN Mines Action Service for the assessment and clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO). UXO has been cleared from all UN Relief and Works Agency schools, as well as other public areas such as market places. This has allowed 220,00 children to resume their education, improved security for the civilian population and is allowing early recovery efforts, such as the removal of rubble and for families to return home, to proceed.

Mine clearing organisations are still awaiting clearance from Israel for critical safety equipment and the explosives needed to destroy UXO already cleared to be allowed into Gaza. Agreement on a safe place to destroy the UXO inside Gaza is also required. The UK Government continue to urge Israel to allow the necessary equipment to enter Gaza and to agree to a disposal site.

Palestinians: Overseas Aid

Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support the Government are providing to charities and other non-governmental organisations working with the population of Gaza. [275000]

Mr. Michael Foster: Information on funding provided by the UK Government to non-governmental organisations operating in Gaza is available in the table ‘DFID UK Funding to 2009 Gaza'. This is on the DFID web-site:

Palestinians: Trauma

Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to support children in Gaza affected by trauma following shelling. [274993]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) is funding several organisations which are providing psychosocial support to traumatised children and their families. Mercy Corps is providing support to conflict affected children, youth and their families through family centres; Islamic Relief have helped 1200 children through group activities such as outings and self expression in safe environments; and the UN Relief and Works Agency have 164 counsellors in their schools to help traumatised children.

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Bribery: Convictions

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were convicted of offences relating to bribery in each of the last 10 calendar years. [275878]

Maria Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 28 April 2009, Official Report , columns 1253-54W.

Housing: Sales

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many domestic property transactions in each local authority area in the South West were recorded by the Land Registry in the first quarter of 2009. [275844]

Mr. Wills: The number of residential properties sold in each local authority area in the south west in the first quarter of 2009 is shown in the following table.

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District name Total sales

Bath and North East Somerset












City of Bristol


City of Plymouth






East Devon


East Dorset




Forest of Dean










Mid Devon


North Cornwall


North Devon


North Dorset


North Somerset


North Wiltshire














South Gloucestershire


South Hams


South Somerset






Taunton Deane










West Devon


West Dorset


West Somerset


West Wiltshire


Weymouth and Portland




Total sales


Land Registry

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many titles in England and Wales were stored on HM Land Registry records on the latest date for which figures are available. [275153]

Mr. Wills: On 8 May 2009 there were 22,185,077 registered titles from England and Wales stored on the Land Registry database.

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the number of land registration records which contain inaccuracies. [275158]

Mr. Wills: Although there is no current estimate of records that contain inaccuracies, Land Registry runs automated systems that check against their records to identify potential inaccuracies that are then investigated on a daily basis. Land Registry has reported an accuracy rate of 98.91 per cent. in respect of its output for the year ending 31 March 2009 against a KPI of 98.5 per cent. This level of accuracy was achieved across more than four million applications directly affecting the entries on the Register of Title.

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the procedure is for the alteration of a record held by the Land Registry. [275163]

Mr. Wills: Applications to alter the register of title are made using the forms and procedures prescribed by the land registration legislation. Applications must be accompanied by the appropriate documents and evidence needed to justify the alteration. Land Registry publishes a range of public and practice guides that provide guidance about the different types of application that can be made.

Land Registry requires confirmation of identity for certain types of application as detailed in Land Registry “Practice Guide 67—Evidence of Identity”.

All applications are checked by Land Registry’s staff in accordance with centrally prescribed practice guidance. If an application is not in order Land Registry may reject it on receipt or may send a written requisition for the defect to be put right. The application may be cancelled if the requisition is not complied with by a specified date.

In some cases notice of an application is sent to interested parties and time is allowed for them to agree or object to the application. Any objection which is not groundless and cannot be resolved by agreement is referred for hearing by the adjudicator to HM Land Registry and the application cannot then be completed until the dispute has been resolved.

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If the application is in order, or when all requisitions and objections have been dealt with, the application is approved and the register is altered. The alteration takes effect from the time when Land Registry received the application.

The Courts and the registrar also have power to alter the register without an application being made in the circumstances described in Schedule 4 to the Land Registration Act 2002, for example to correct a mistake or to bring the register up to date.

Land Registry: Data Protection

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what electronic security risk assessment was carried out prior to the establishment of the Land Register Online website. [275165]

Mr. Wills: The Land Register Online facility was conceived as a facility to contribute substantially towards the Government’s initiative to provide easier access for the citizen to government held data. As a “view only” service the integrity of the information held is not at risk through the service. The information made available through the service is available through other channels.

A security assessment was undertaken in July 2002 by IBM Global Services. The agreed design was implemented by Land Registry with significant assistance from both HP/Compaq and IBM.

The solution’s implementation was validated from a security design stance through the engagement of Echelon who completed their testing 6 May 2003. The scope of the penetration test was to determine if Land Registry’s website could be breached.

Echelon concluded that the

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