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21 Jun 2010 : Column 34Wcontinued
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have responsibility for ensuring that children with disabilities (i) have input into and (ii) are taken account of in his Department's work on education. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: Supported by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, I have responsibility for the Department for International Development's (DFID) work on the needs of children with disabilities. Officials in the Human Development Group, Governance and Social Development Group and Country Offices are involved in the development and implementation of evidence-based policy for children with disabilities, including education policy.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had on the replenishment of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: I wrote to the executive director of the Global Fund, Professor Michel Kazatchkine, on 9 June 2010 to inform him that the Department for International Development (DFID) has launched a Multilateral Aid Review to look at core funding provided by DFID to multilateral agencies. The review will include an assessment of the relevance of the Global Fund to the UK's objectives on poverty reduction and its ability to deliver results on the ground. The results of the review will be an important element in any future funding decisions in respect of the Global Fund.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the (a) transparency, (b) accountability and (c) effectiveness of the way (i) the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and (ii) other multilateral and bilateral global health programmes spend the UK's contributions. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) has launched a Multilateral Aid Review which will look at core funding provided from DFID headquarters to multilateral agencies. It will include an assessment of the relevance of each organisation to the UK's objectives on poverty reduction and their ability to deliver results on the ground.
This review, alongside a review of our bilateral aid programme and our humanitarian response will be integral to maximising the effectiveness of the UK's development efforts. The results of the Multilateral Aid Review will be an important element in any future funding decisions in respect of the Global Fund.
Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on supporting developing countries to achieve good governance. 
Mr O'Brien: In "The Coalition: our programme for government", the government laid out our commitment to
"use the aid budget to support the development of local democratic institutions, civil society groups, the media and enterprise; and support efforts to tackle corruption".
The Department for International Development (DFID) will take this agenda forward. For example we will work to: empower citizens and make governments and donors more transparent and accountable; help build effective states in fragile and conflict affected countries; and tackle corruption.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 January 2010, Official Report, column 273W, on Ascension Island, whether the Ascension Island government and council have considered the draft report. 
Mr Bellingham: The Island Council is considering the report and is consulting the major Employing Organisations on Ascension Island as part of its considerations.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the financial situation on Ascension Island on the island's services and amenities. 
Mr Bellingham: The current financial situation on Ascension Island is difficult, as it is in much of the rest of the world. The Ascension Island Government has recently made a number of significant efficiency savings through its restructuring and modernisation programme and will continue to strive to provide the essential services required on the island.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the projected budget deficit is for (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12 for Ascension Island. 
Mr Bellingham: The Ascension Island Government (AIG) is responsible for its budget. However I understand that a small surplus is projected for the end of the current financial year, provided all pay their assessed taxes, and that the AIG continues with its restructuring and modernisation programme. I also understand that no forecast for the 2011-12 budget has been carried out.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he has made in discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence on the future financial arrangements for Ascension Island. 
Mr Bellingham: Ascension Island Government (AIG)'s financial arrangements are the responsibility of the Island Council. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence (MOD) are however in discussions to work towards helping to achieve a solution to the ongoing dispute between AIG and MoD and to ensure a sustainable future for Ascension Island.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what each income stream of the Ascension Island government was in each of the last five financial years; what the source is of each such stream; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: This is a matter for the Ascension Island Government (AIG). The AIG is responsible for its own budget and holds this information.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure the co-ordination of measures by Government departments to tackle violence against women overseas. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Tackling violence against women overseas is a priority issue for the UK. The Government are committed to developing a coherent and strategic approach to this issue, building on the work we are already doing bilaterally with partner countries, and at the UN, to identify opportunities to increase our impact.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in discussion with the Department for International Development, Ministry of Defence, Home Office and the Government Equalities Office to take this work forward.
Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of progress in talks between the leaders of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on Cyprus; what his Department's objectives are for the outcome of those talks; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: This is a UN-led process, by Cypriots for Cypriots, aimed at reaching an agreed settlement to the Cyprus problem for the benefit of all those on the island. The reunification of Cyprus would be the best thing for both communities, and the Government will do all they can to support the leaders as they work towards this. We welcome the resumption of negotiations in Cyprus under the agreed UN parameters and urge both leaders to work together to achieve a comprehensive settlement, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality. The two leaders are currently discussing the issue of property and regular meetings are scheduled throughout June and July.
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to take steps to increase the number of staff from working-class backgrounds recruited to HM Diplomatic Service. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) strives for a highly talented workforce which represents and reflects the diversity of modern Britain. The FCO's Partner Universities Placement Scheme has offered high-calibre undergraduates from low income backgrounds training placements at the FCO every summer since 2008. We continue to invest in that scheme.
Our outreach programmes aim to attract talented applicants from diverse backgrounds. From 2010 the Cabinet Office will begin collecting and publishing data on the socio-economic background of entrants to the Senior Civil Service and the Civil Service Fast Stream. This will include Fast Stream applicants who go on to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2010, Official Report, column 356, on the European Parliament, what answer he received from his French counterpart. 
Mr Lidington: The French Europe Minister stated that the long-standing French position on maintaining the European Parliament's presence in Strasbourg remained unchanged.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek agreement at EU level for an investigation of allegations that Abbey Chikane and the Zimbabwean authorities have targeted and threatened Farai Maguwu of the Centre for Research and Development in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: We are deeply concerned about the treatment of Farai Maguwu and more broadly by the recent increase in arbitrary arrests, politically-inspired harassment and detention of civil society activists in Zimbabwe. We will continue to monitor Maguwu's case and the accusations against him, including by attending court hearings where possible, and urge the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law. We will urge the EU also to do so, in its capacity as a Kimberley Process member.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Floribert Chebeya in Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr Bellingham: I am deeply concerned at the death of Mr Floribert Chebeya and made a statement to that effect on 3 June. The EU High Representative Cathy Ashton has also issued a statement of serious concern.
Our ambassador in Kinshasa raised our concerns with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 3 June. President Kabila has ordered an investigation into the death of Mr Chebeya. A number of police officers have been arrested and the Inspector General of Police Mr John Numbi has been suspended.
A Dutch forensics team were in DRC last week where they participated in an autopsy with the Congolese authorities. They have not yet been able to establish a cause of death, but will continue their investigations and will produce a report in the coming weeks.
We will continue to follow developments closely, and press for a full, proper and transparent investigation to take place. We will stay in communication with the Government of DRC and international partners who share our concerns.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many bottles of wine from each (a) region of origin and (b) vintage are held in the Government hospitality wine cellar; 
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many bottles of (a) red wine, (b) white wine, (c) champagne and (d) fortified wine there are in the Government Wine Cellar. 
Mr Bellingham: The Government Hospitality (GH) wine cellar has held between 38,000 and 39,000 bottles of wine for the last five years. Excluding beverage wines, the most recent independent stock-take in April 2010 indicated that the cellar contained:
25,883 bottles of red wine
6,828 bottles of white wine
1,779 bottles of champagne
2,975 bottles of fortified wine.
80% of the stock is French (from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Loire, Champagne and Alsace). Of the remaining stock 7% is Portuguese, 2% English and Welsh, 2% German, 1% Australian, 1% Italian and 1% American. Small quantities of Spanish, Austrian, Argentinean, Chilean, South African and New Zealand wines are also held. As reserves are used GH is able to diversify its stock as appropriate, while taking into account usage requirements, quality and value for money.
It is not possible to give a detailed breakdown of the numbers of bottles per vintage of each region of origin without incurring disproportionate costs. The cellar stock levels are regularly reassessed and its performance and value for money are reviewed throughout the year.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of human rights violations by members of Hamas in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
Hamas has had a poor record in Gaza from the moment it violently ousted Fatah. Human rights organisations and other non-governmental
organisations in Gaza are increasingly concerned about restrictions on their own activities and on the wider curtailing of personal freedoms.
We share these concerns, including regarding violent harassment of political opponents, violent retribution-including summary executions-against those Hamas deem collaborators with Israel, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and a crackdown on women's freedom.
The UK calls on Hamas to take immediate and concrete steps towards the Quartet principles, unconditionally to release Gilad Shalit, who has been held in captivity for just under four years, and to end its interference with the operations of non-governmental organisations and UN agencies in Gaza.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received recent reports on the alleged closure by Hamas security forces of (a) the Women and Children Society, (b) the Palestinian Mini-Parliament and (c) the South Society for Palestinian Women's Health; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We understand that Hamas' Internal Security Unit have ordered the closure until further notice of four organisations: the South Society for Women's Health, Women Child Development Association, Bonat al-Mustagbal Association and Sharek Youth Forum which is a UN partner organisation. We also understand that these organisations had their offices raided and equipment confiscated by Hamas' Internal Security Unit on 31 May.
We call on Hamas to take immediate and concrete steps towards the Quartet principles, to release Gilad Shalit unconditionally, and to end its interference with the operations of non-governmental organisations and UN agencies in Gaza.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the alleged refusal of Hamas to accept aid transported from the flotilla ships; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We understand that Israel offered to transfer some of the aid to Gaza, but that Hamas refused to accept it. However, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) report that five truckloads of the flotilla aid have now been distributed within Gaza, facilitated by the Palestinian Authority co-ordination committee.
What is important is that we focus now on the longer term issue of opening up Gaza to the humanitarian and reconstruction aid that it needs, and the flow of trade that will be essential to building up Gaza's economy, while at the same time ensuring that arms are not being transferred to Hamas in Gaza.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on the lawfulness under international law of the Israeli interception of the Gaza convoy in international waters. 
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