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Carer's Allowance: Na-h-Eileanan an Iar

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Na-h-Eileanan an Iar constituency received carer's allowance in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2007-08. [325848]

Jonathan Shaw: The information is in the table:

Carer's a llowance - cases in payment in Na-h-Eileanan an I ar parliamentary constituency
Quarter ending Number

February 2007

200

May 2007

200

August 2007

200

November 2007

200

February 2008

200

May 2008

200

August 2008

200

November 2008

200

February 2009

200

May 2009

190

August 2009

190

Notes:
1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Cases in payment show the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended.
Source:
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

Housing Benefit

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the consultation document entitled Supporting people into work: the next stage of housing benefit reform, (1) what assessment she has made of the effects of the implementation of local housing allowance on the expenditure on housing benefit; and what estimate she made of the cost to the public purse of local housing allowance at the time of its implementation; [322155]

(2) what her Department's (a) original estimate was and (b) most recent estimate is of the effect on the overall level of expenditure on housing benefit of the introduction of local housing allowance. [322559]


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Helen Goodman: On 15 December the housing benefit consultation, 'Supporting people into work: the next stage of housing benefit reform', was launched. The consultation concluded on 22 February 2010. We are now considering the responses and we will set out how we will take forward our proposals in due course.

In 2004-05 nine Pathfinder local authorities piloted the local housing allowance. In 2005 the pilot was extended to cover a further nine local authorities, so as to cover a total of 18 local authorities.

In the pre-Budget report 2006 it was confirmed that,

At this time the estimated impact of the national roll-out of local housing allowance alone, all other external and market factors equal, on the Annual Managed Expenditure (AME) was an additional £20 million in the first year, against a total expenditure in the private rented sector of £4.3 billion for 2006-07.

This estimate is now likely to be out-of-date due to a number of factors, including the impact of the recession on the caseload size and composition, and changes in the boundaries of the areas from which local housing allowance rates are calculated. Due to the complexities involved in adjusting for such factors, and the lack of administrative data covering part of this period, a current estimate of the effect of the introduction of local housing allowance on the overall level of housing benefit expenditure is not available.

Low Incomes

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to address the matter of low pay. [322678]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 16 March 2010]: I have been asked to reply.

The Government introduced the national minimum wage (NMW) in April 1999 to ensure a decent minimum rate of pay for all employees. In October 2010, the adult NMW rate will rise to £5.93 per hour. Table 5.1 in Budget 2010 shows the minimum income guaranteed by the combination of working and child tax credits and the NMW once the new rate comes into effect. A family with one child and one person working 35 hours a week will receive a minimum income of £310 per week, a 27 per cent. increase in real terms since April 1999.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Angola: Foreign Relations

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the UK-Angolan bilateral relationship. [325463]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Our strategic partnership with Angola is developing well. Given Angola's geo-political importance, it is important that our two governments should consult closely and we are strengthening collaboration on a range of regional and international issues. In line with
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the Angolan Government's wish to diversify the economy, UK investment is broadening in this, the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. The new constitution in February and President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' zero-tolerance policy on corruption make it particularly timely to be deepening the relationship. The UK has an important role in supporting Angola's development, building on traditional links but also uncovering new opportunities. Beyond inter-governmental cooperation, UK-based non-governmental organisations and the private sector are key parts of this process. We hope also to develop ideas for working with key constitutional bodies, including the National Assembly, in which support from Members of the House would be valuable.

China: Abortion

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the discovering of 21 foetuses and baby bodies in the Guangfu river, Jining City, China; whether he has made representations to the government of China on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [325867]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

China: Family Planning

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the operation of a one child policy by the government of China; and if he will make a statement. [325868]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of China on its population planning policies; and if he will make a statement. [325879]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions officials in the British Embassy in China have had with Chinese officials on (a) forced abortion and sterilisation and (b) birth control quotas in China; and if he will make a statement. [325880]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of China to relax its population planning policy; and if he will make a statement. [325881]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


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China: Political Prisoners

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in the British Embassy in China have had with the government of China on the case of Chen Guangcheng; and if he will make a statement. [325878]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Crimes of Violence: Females

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role the Minister with lead responsibility for the Government's work to tackle violence against women overseas will have in the Government's cross-departmental strategy to tackle violence against women. [325866]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to his Department was of employing press and media officers in the last 12 month period for which figures are available; and what the cost to his Department was of employing such staff in the financial year 1996-97, expressed in real terms. [324807]

Chris Bryant: This information is not held centrally and could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to (a) the government of Iran and (b) the Palestinian Authority on the fate of the missing Israeli service personnel; and if he will make a statement. [325696]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We consistently call for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit. The EU reiterated this call in the December Foreign Affairs Council conclusions and made our collective position very clear in international meetings, most recently during the Quartet meeting in Moscow on 19 March.

Nigeria: Violence

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Nigerian counterpart on the recent violence in Jos. [325462]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary condemned the recent violence in Jos in a joint statement with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and EU High Representative Baroness Ashton on 29 January. I raised UK concerns with former Foreign
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Minister Maduekwe on 15 March, and my noble Friend the Minister of State for Africa discussed earlier disturbances in Jos with the former Foreign Minister, when she met him on 20 January. Our high commission in Abuja remains in frequent contact with state and federal authorities on this issue, and has continued to urge the Nigerian Government to bring those responsible for crimes to justice, and to address the underlying causes of conflict.

Passports: Fraud

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Oral Statement of 23 March 2010, Official Report, columns 133-4, on UK passports (use in Dubai murder), what the other reasons are for not releasing the report by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. [325103]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The report was compiled as the result of a criminal investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency into the use of counterfeit British passports. Such reports which may lead to, or be relevant to, criminal proceedings in the UK or elsewhere are not released.

Southern Africa: HIV Infection

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to fulfil its commitments under the Achieving Universal Access AIDS Strategy, in (a) Lesotho, (b) Botswana and (c) Swaziland. [325456]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s role under the Government's Achieving Universal Access HIV strategy is primarily focused on advocacy and lobbying to support the aims of the strategy. In doing this, we work closely with a broad range of partners in relevant countries, including the host government, non-government and multilateral organisations and other major donors.

Given the continued high level of infection rates in Southern Africa, there are several large bilateral and multilateral donors working with the governments in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. The FCO's efforts in these countries are therefore focused on providing political support to the major donors and international organisations, as well as providing support to non-government organisations.

For example, in Botswana, our high commission follows the HIV situation and policies closely, maintains links with the National AIDS Coordination Agency and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS. It also looks for opportunities to support the major bilateral HIV/AIDS donors in addressing sensitive issues.

Our non-resident diplomatic representation to Lesotho or Swaziland is based at our high commission in Pretoria, where our staff monitor and report on developments in country and have a dialogue with a range of relevant partners on HIV/AIDS issues. In Swaziland, for example, we have held discussions with the National Director of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS as well as a number of non-governmental organisations.


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Our high commissions in Pretoria and Gaborone work closely with the Department for International Development (DFID) Southern Africa (based in Pretoria, South Africa), responsible for DFID's work in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. Tackling HIV in the region is a priority for DFID Southern Africa. For example, DFID Southern Africa is funding a £23 million Behaviour Change Communication Programme across 10 countries (including Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland), reaching 60 per cent. of the youth population. They are also contributing £18 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Children and AIDS Regional Initiative across six countries (including Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland), helping orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS. At the national level in Lesotho, DFID Southern Africa is providing £2.5 million to the Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) programme, providing HIV prevention, treatment and care services to 48,000 factory workers, 80 per cent. of whom are women.

Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to fulfil its commitments under the AIDS Strategy, Achieving Universal Access in (a) Lesotho, (b) Botswana and (c) Swaziland. [325692]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s role under the Government's Achieving Universal Access HIV strategy is primarily focussed on advocacy and lobbying to support the aims of the strategy. In doing this, we work closely with a broad range of partners in relevant countries, including the host government, non-government and multilateral organisations and other major donors.

Given the continued high level of infection rates in Southern Africa, there are several large bilateral and multilateral donors working with the governments in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. The FCO's efforts in these countries are therefore focussed on providing political support to the major donors and international organisations, as well as providing support to non-government organisations.

For example, in Botswana, our high commission follows the HIV situation and policies closely, maintains links with the National AIDS Co-ordination Agency and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS. It also looks for opportunities to support the major bilateral HIV/AIDS donors in addressing sensitive issues.

Our non-resident diplomatic representation to Lesotho or Swaziland is based at our high commission in Pretoria, where our staff monitor and report on developments in country and have a dialogue with a range of relevant partners on HIV/AIDS issues. In Swaziland, for example, we have held discussions with the National Director of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS as well as a number of non-governmental organisations.


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