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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 14 December 2010

House of Commons Commission

Catering

Dr Huppert: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what proportion of the (a) tea and (b) coffee provided through House of Commons catering outlets was from fair trade sources in the latest period for which figures are available; and what steps the Commission is taking to increase the proportion provided which is from such sources. [30189]

John Thurso: The information requested is as follows:

Catering: Private Sector

Mr Knight: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment the House of Commons Commission has made of allowing private operators to provide catering services in the precincts of the House. [30898]

John Thurso: The Commission has agreed, on the advice of the Finance and Services Committee, that the option of competitive tendering should be explored as part of the savings programme. That decision covers catering as well as other services. It will involve determining whether services should be outsourced or retained in house. The work of examining that option will begin early in 2011.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register: Literacy

John Mann: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effects of standards of literacy on implementation of individual voter registration. [30511]


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Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that in 2009 it commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research on the collection of personal identifiers and the introduction of individual electoral registration. The research, which included people with a low level of literacy in the sample, found that participants experienced few difficulties in completing the forms. The findings of this research are available on the Commission's website.

The Commission further informs me that its plans for reviewing the move to individual electoral registration are being developed and will include an assessment of the challenges faced by different groups when registering to vote. It is intended that those who have a low level of literacy will form part of this work.

General Election 2010

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what the reason is for the time taken for the Electoral Commission to publish details relating to each candidate who contested the general election on 6 May 2010. [30597]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that although it has no statutory duty to publish details contained in candidate returns, in the interest of transparency the Commission published details of all the returns received from returning officers on 10 December 2010.

The Commission has published spending reports for 4,028 out of the 4,150 candidates who stood at the UK general election.

Candidates' agents are responsible for submitting their spending reports to the returning officer, and returning officers are responsible for making those reports available locally. Returning officers are also required to forward a copy of the reports to the Electoral Commission as soon as reasonably practicable after receipt.

While the Commission received the majority of returns from returning officers within a reasonable time after receipt, a considerable number required follow-up before a sufficiently comprehensive set of returns could be published. Publication of similar information after the UK general election in 2005 took place in March 2006.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

Personnel

Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to the answer of 9 December 2010, what the appropriate steps were which the Interim Chief Executive took to investigate allegations of improper behaviour by staff at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority made in the House on 2 December; and what the position is of each member of staff investigated for evidence to support the allegations. [30883]


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Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald:

Northern Ireland

Departmental Conferences

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his Department's annual budget for conferences was at (a) 7 May 2010 and (b) 7 December 2010. [30026]

Mr Swire: The Department did not have an annual budget for conferences at either 7 May 2010 or 7 December 2010.

Women and Equalities

Departmental Official Visits

Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many events in the UK the Government Equalities Office has (a) organised and (b) sent officials to attend in each year since its inception; what the cost to the public purse was in each case; and how many Government Equalities Office staff participated in each such event. [22064]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) does not hold information showing the number of conferences held or attended, nor do records cover the cost of holding or attending conferences. GEO has one conference code which covers the cost of hosting and attending events, which shows the following:

Financial year Conference expenditure (£)

2007-08(1)

220,167

2008-09

305,275

2009-10

414,423

2010-11

87,166

(1) GEO was established in October 2007.

Most of this expenditure was for events held in preparations for new legislation, which culminated in the 2010 Equality Act. Another large element was for events which sought to improve the diversity of representation in public life.

Departmental Sponsorship

Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what expenditure the Government Equalities Office incurred on sponsorship in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. [27531]


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Lynne Featherstone: Since its creation on 12 October 2007, the Government Equalities Office has sponsored the following events:

Event Calendar year £

The Power List

2009

2,350

Civil Service Live

2009

10,350

Everywoman Awards

2009

9,200

Civil Service Equality and Diversity Awards

2009

4,025

The Power List

2010

3,220

Asian Achievers Awards

2010

1,000


Departmental Travel

Paul Maynard: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how much the Government Equalities Office spent on grey fleet in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. [28858]

Lynne Featherstone: In 2008-09 and 2009-10, the Government Equalities Office has spent the following amounts on grey fleet:

Financial Year Mileage Expenditure (£)

2008-09

1,231

432.25

2009-10

1,284

447.60


Equality: Regulation

Miss Begg: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what assessment she has made of the likely effect on the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 of the Government's one-in one-out policy on regulations. [28400]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 2 December 2010]: Most of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010. The remaining provisions of the Act that have not yet been commenced, like all prospective regulatory measures across Government, are being considered in the light of one-in-one-out policy and their impact on business and others affected.

EU Law

Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many EU directives are pending transposition into domestic legislation by the Government Equalities Office; and what estimate she has made of the cost of each such transposition. [27494]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office has no EU Directives pending transposition.

Grants

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what grants have been awarded by the Government Equalities Office in 2010-11 to date; what grants she plans to award in each of the next two years; what the monetary value is of each such grant fund; and to which organisations such grants have been made. [27863]


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Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 1 December 2010]: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given on 19 November 2010, Official Report, columns 989-90W.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Korean Peninsula

12. Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the North Korean Government in respect of its recent military action against South Korea. [30272]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Tensions are likely to remain high until North Korea abandons its provocative behaviour, and violation of UN resolutions, and creates the conditions for the resumption of talks by making verifiable progress towards denuclearisation. Talks between relevant parties offer the best prospect for achieving a resolution of the dispute, but cannot succeed without trust.

Our ambassador in Pyongyang, and senior officials in London, have made representations to the North Korean Government condemning the military action and urging North Korea to refrain from such attacks in the future.

Iran

13. Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of EU sanctions on Iran; and if he will make a statement. [30274]

Mr Hague: I have no doubt that the strong and unprecedented international sanctions on Iran, including the EU measures, have been instrumental in bringing Iran back to the negotiating table. It is vital that we now maintain this pressure in order to persuade the Iranian Government to address the very real concerns about its nuclear programme.

14. Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the human rights situation in Iran; and if he will make a statement. [30275]

Mr Hague: The human rights situation in Iran is deplorable. We welcome increased support for the UN resolution on the issue of which we are co-sponsor. We call on Iran to adhere to its international obligations and we will work with partners to encourage the regime to end abuses.

20. Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts on sanctions on Iran; and if he will make a statement. [30281]

Mr Hague: My officials and I are in close touch with our EU colleagues as we implement together the EU sanctions on Iran and try to persuade the Iranian Government, through a combination of pressure and engagement, to address the very real concerns about its nuclear programme.


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Afghanistan

15. Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made towards a political settlement in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [30276]

Mr Hague: The inauguration of the High Peace Council in October marked an important milestone for the Afghan Peace and Reintegration programme. The High Peace Council is taking forward political settlement issues, including support for community reintegration cases and engagement with international actors. We support President Karzai's efforts to reconcile with all those willing to meet the conditions he has laid down: renounce al-Qaeda, give up armed struggle; and respect the Afghan constitutional framework. The UK is working in support of President Karzai's approach. All our activity is in support of an Afghan-led process.

19. Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the political and security situation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [30280]

Mrs Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the political and security situation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [30258]

Mr Hague: Earlier today I laid a written report on recent progress in Afghanistan, as part of the Government's commitment to keep the House regularly updated on the situation in Afghanistan. The report covers the security and political situation including the results of the recent elections, outcomes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conference in Lisbon, governance and regional engagement.

Russian Federation: Fossil Fuels

16. Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress he has made on discussions with the Government of the Russian Federation on fossil fuel subsidy reform; and if he will make a statement. [30277]

Mr Bellingham: The UK has been instrumental in pushing for fossil fuel subsidy reform through the G20, which includes Russia. The G20 reaffirmed its commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies at the G20 summits in Toronto in June 2010 and in Seoul in November 2010.

Middle East

17. Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the state of relations between the UK and the countries of the middle east. [30278]

Alistair Burt: Strong relationships with Middle East countries are a priority for the Government. In particular we will continue to work with the United States and the Quartet as well as with our Arab partners to secure progress towards a two state solution to the
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Arab-Israeli conflict. We are also working to elevate our links with the Gulf, and will engage strongly with the new Iraqi Government when formed. We are co-operating strongly with international partners to support the Government of Yemen in its efforts to tackle al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to ensure urgent reform and development in Yemen.

Gaza Aid Flotilla

18. Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the progress of Israel's investigations into the deaths aboard the Gaza aid flotilla. [30279]

Alistair Burt: The establishment of an independent Israeli Commission of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla tragedy was an important step forward. My officials are in regular contact with the Israeli authorities on this issue. As we have made clear it is important that the Commission is able to proceed swiftly, transparently and rigorously, with access to the full evidence available. We have also been in touch with the Commission regarding British witnesses giving testimony.

Yemen

21. Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to visit Yemen. [30282]

Alistair Burt: My travel plans are not for public disclosure for security reasons. I can, however, confirm that as part of the preparations for the next Friends of Yemen meeting in Riyadh there will be an intense round of engagement in the Gulf.

Prior to this meeting, the Government's engagement with Yemen and its Gulf neighbours will be taken forward through a series of ministerial and senior visits to the region.

The right hon. Member will be aware of the significant security threat to British nationals in Yemen, borne out by attacks on embassy staff in April and October this year. Official visits are necessarily severely limited. My colleagues and I rely on the expert advice of security professionals on the possibility of future visits.

Departmental Air Travel

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's staff based abroad used (a) economy class tickets and (b) low-cost airlines to travel to and from the UK in the latest period for which figures are available. [29485]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold information centrally on individual travel by its staff as responsibility for duty travel overseas is devolved to Posts. Obtaining this information from every Post would be at disproportionate cost.

The standard policy for duty air travel is that on journeys under five hours all staff should travel economy. Value for money and budgetary restraints mean all Posts look to travel by the most cost effective means available.

Low cost airlines are used for travel to and from the UK.


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Departmental Security

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether each foreign national who has worked in his Department in the last five years obtained security clearance; [28574]

(2) what level of security clearance has been given to outside caterers working in his Department in the last three years. [28575]

Alistair Burt: All foreign nationals employed directly by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK and in missions abroad in the last five years have been security cleared to the level required for their job. The levels of clearances were in accordance with the Government's National Security Vetting (NSV). Foreign nationals employed by others who have worked on FCO premises in the UK have either been security cleared or escorted by security cleared staff.

Staff employed by outside catering companies working in the offices of the Foreign arid Commonwealth Office (FCO) within the last three years have been either security cleared to "Security Clearance" (SC), the second highest level under the NSV, or escorted by staff cleared to SC.

Diplomatic Service: Email

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people have access to electronic information sent to his Department's London offices by British embassies and High Commissions. [29518]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes the protection of its information, including electronic information, very seriously, and complies with the Cabinet Office Security Policy Framework, which covers all areas of security, including technical, physical, procedural and personnel security. Approximately 5,000 staff in the UK have accounts on the FCO's corporate IT system with access to electronic information sent directly to their accounts from our posts overseas, as well as restricted access to certain other system areas containing shared information of direct relevance to their part of FCO business. Most UK users also have access to the FCO's corporate records repository. Documents, including diplomatic reporting from posts, are registered in this system in line with FCO information management policy; there are differing levels of access to the system governed by the corporate records security model.

FCO information is shared with other Government Departments when appropriate and necessary. All Government Departments are required to conform with Cabinet Office standards to protect data at the relevant classification. We work closely with recipient Departments to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect any information we share with them.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the security of electronic information sent by diplomats. [29519]


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Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes the protection of its information, including electronic information, very seriously, and complies with the Cabinet Office Security Policy Framework, which covers all areas of security, including technical, physical, procedural and personnel security. In line with Cabinet Office requirements, the FCO completed its annual Security Policy Framework compliance assessment, drawing on the outcome of the FCO's Information Assurance Maturity assessment of May 2010, the results of which were included in the FCO's Statement of Internal Control. In light of recent events, and in response to the request from the National Security Adviser that all Departments review existing processes and systems, the FCO is carrying out a further review of all security measures to ensure these continue to be both robust and proportionate, working with recipient Departments of FCO's data to confirm with them that appropriate measures are in place for any onward handling and distribution of FCO data.

International Cooperation: Climate Change

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's role is in international efforts to address climate change; and if he will make a statement. [30268]

Mr Bellingham: We see an effective response to climate change as underpinning our security and prosperity. While the Department of Energy and Climate Change leads on the negotiations on a global agreement, effective deployment of foreign policy assets is crucial to mobilising the political will needed if we are to shape an effective response.

Judaism: Festivals and Special Occasions

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to publish in the Official Report the text of his Chanukah message to the Jewish community; and if he will make a statement. [29842]

Alistair Burt: Messages of greeting to different religious faiths by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary are published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and on the websites of relevant embassies.

Lockerbie: Bombings

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice his Department received from the British Embassy in Libya in relation to political, commercial and operational consequences of a decision not to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi; if he will provide a copy of that advice to the Cabinet Secretary for inclusion in his review of papers relating to the release of Al Megrahi; and if he will make a statement. [30257]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) receives regular reporting from our embassy in Tripoli on a wide range of issues. The FCO has provided all relevant documentation to the Cabinet Office for the Cabinet Secretary's review.


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Pakistan: Capital Punishment

Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the government of Pakistan on the death sentence passed on Asia Bibi by a court in Punjab for the offence of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. [30533]

Alistair Burt: The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. In Pakistan, alongside EU colleagues, we regularly raise our support for its abolition and work with civil society to encourage reform.

Our high commission in Islamabad has raised the case of Mrs Asia Bibi with the Punjab Government and we will continue to do so at a senior level. Specific representations to the Government of Pakistan are being made by the head of the EU delegation, with UK support, in Islamabad. I raised the case of Asia Bibi with the Pakistan Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, on 9 December 2010.

Sri Lanka

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on his recent meeting with the Sri Lankan President. [30455]

Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of foreign policy issues.

Sri Lanka: Human Rights

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. [30198]

Alistair Burt: The human rights situation in Sri Lanka remains a concern following the end of the military conflict. Key concerns include the persistent culture of impunity for human rights violations and the limits on freedom of expression, in particular intimidation of the media and the political opposition. We continue to raise our concerns both bilaterally with the Government of Sri Lanka and at the UN Human Rights Council. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I discussed with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 19 and 20 October 2010 the importance of improving the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Our high commission in Colombo co-ordinates closely with international partners in calling upon the Government to take action to protect human rights and investigate abuses whenever they occur.

Transport

Departmental Air Travel

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior civil servants in his Department have taken internal UK flights in an official capacity since 6 May 2010; and how many such flights have been taken by senior civil servants in that period. [29120]


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Norman Baker [holding answer 6 December 2010]: Since 6 May 2010 28 senior civil servants in the Department for Transport and its agencies have taken a total of 84 internal UK flights.

Information relating to the central Department contained in the figures above comprises flights booked through the main air travel contract. Information about flights booked in any other way is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each year since its creation. [28150]

Norman Baker: The cost of press cuttings services to the Department in each of the last eight years since its creation in 2002 is provided in the following table for the central Department and its seven Executive agencies.

£000

2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

DFT(C)

170.0

164.3

155.7

243.1

252.8

267.3

191.3

187.7

DSA

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.5

21.4

5.0

DVLA

1.2

2.5

1.4

1.5

1.9

2.2

3.3

3.7

GCDA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

HA

n/a

n/a

n/a

31.3

58.9

73.4

49.8

62.3

MCA

2.5

0

16.8

16.8

16.8

16.8

16.8

0

VCA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

VOSA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0


The 2009-10 cost of press cuttings services for the central Department includes £59,500 for regional (local) press cuttings outsourced by the Central Office of Information (COI). In previous years this service was provided in-house by the COI as part of their Government News Network regional service and itemised cost are not available. The years 2002-03 to 2008-09 do not therefore include the cost of regional press cuttings.

The Driving Standards Agency and Highways Agency are unable to provide figures specifically for press cuttings services in earlier years.

Departmental Public Expenditure

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much and what proportion of his Department's capital expenditure was allocated to (a) London and (b) the north-west in each of the last five financial years. [28830]

Norman Baker: Details of the Department for Transport's regional expenditure is published by HM Treasury in its Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses which is available on-line at:

Those tables show the following amounts and proportion of the Department's capital expenditure that were allocated to London and the north-west in each of the last five financial years.

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

London (£ million)

637

841

811

778

719

Percentage

18.4

17.5

17.4

15.0

13.5

North-west (£ million)

360

544

573

622

658

Percentage

10.4

11.3

12.3

12.0

12.4


These figures exclude Capital grant to local authorities, as this information is collated separately by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Children, Schools and Families, Department for Work and Pensions and devolved administrations.

Departmental Railways

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior civil servants in his Department have travelled by first class rail in an official capacity since 6 May 2010. [29121]

Norman Baker [holding answer 6 December 2010]: In the Department's seven agencies 31 senior civil servants have travelled by first class rail since 6 May 2010.

The central Department does not record rail travel expenditure by senior civil servants separately. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Driving Tests: Qualifications

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with industry representative groups on the introduction of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence; and what estimate he has made of the likely cost to the public purse of the introduction of that certificate. [30475]

Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) implemented the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) following three public consultations and with input from stakeholders, including representatives from:

DSA subsequently established a Driver CPC Advisory Group to consider issues arising from the introduction of Driver CPC, which had its first meeting in November 2010. The group's membership is similar to that listed
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above but it does not include the Traffic Commissioners, DVLA, or JAUPT. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is also a member of the group.

DSA operates as a trading fund. The services the agency provides are funded by driving and riding test fees and other non-statutory activities. The costs incurred by the agency for the implementation of Driver CPC are being recovered from the driver CPC initial qualification test fees, periodic training approval fees, and driver training hours upload fees.

Electric Vehicles: Local Government

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of electric vehicles used by local authorities in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Coventry. [24859]

Norman Baker: The Government are committed to supporting the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK. The Secretary of State has recently announced provision of over £400 million to support measures promoting their use and which will be used for consumer incentives, open to all consumers including local authorities, infrastructure and research and development.

Coventry is part of a Midlands bid for funding under the second wave of the Government's Plugged-In Places scheme. The winning bids will be announced shortly.

Under the Government funded Low Carbon Vehicle Public Procurement Programme, over 285 vehicles (85 cars and 200 vans) will be bought for use in public fleets of these 41 vans and four cars are for use in the Coventry area.

The Clean Vehicles Directive (2009/33/EC) requires public authorities and utilities to take into account the environmental impacts, when procuring road vehicles. Guidance on this Directive will be issued to all local authorities.

Network Rail

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much Network Rail has paid to companies in the private sector since 2002. [29406]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 8 December 2010]: This is a commercial matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail's acting chief executive at the following address for a response to her question:

Railway Stations: Greater London

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to include Clapham high street and Wandsworth road station in his planned platform lengthening programme. [27993]


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Mrs Villiers: The stations at which platforms will be extended are detailed within Network Rail's updated delivery plan. The plans do not include extending platforms at Clapham high street and Wandsworth road stations. Services that stop at those stations today, and those which are planned to stop there in future do not exceed the length of the current platforms.

Railway Stations: Repairs and Maintenance

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 25 November 2010, Official Report, columns 52-54WS, on rail investment, what rail infrastructure improvements will be made to (a) Reading station, (b) Birmingham station, (c) London King's Cross station, (d) Gatwick Airport station and (e) the East Coast main line. [28428]

Mrs Villiers: The Government have secured funding for a number of vital improvements across the network that will provide more capacity for growing passenger and freight services.

At Reading, £850 million will fund additional platforms, new flyovers and a new depot. The works will allow more passenger and freight trains to operate, reduce delays and will deliver customer benefits on the wider Great Western route.

The Birmingham Gateway Project will renovate and improve Birmingham New Street station, which handles 75% more trains and over twice the number of passengers it was designed for in the 1960s.

At London King's Cross, work on a new concourse containing a ticket hall and passenger waiting area is proceeding to complement the new main line platform and improved access to the Underground.

At Gatwick, improvements are being jointly funded by Network Rail and Gatwick airport to provide a new platform and better passenger circulation areas. The enhancements will remove a bottleneck on the Brighton Main Line.

On the East Coast Main Line, Network Rail are delivering a package of capacity and reliability enhancements across the route including an upgrade of the 'Joint Line' via Lincoln, new platforms at Finsbury Park, new flyovers at Hitchin and Shaftholme in Yorkshire and improvements at Peterborough.

Railways: Fares

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how he plans to allocate the revenue which will accrue to his Department from train fares in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement. [28091]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 6 December 2010]: On 25 November 2010, Official Report, columns 466-68, the Secretary of State for Transport announced plans for provision of additional rolling stock and electrification, building on the announcements made earlier in the comprehensive spending review. The revenue from fares will help the Government deliver much needed improvements on the rail network, including provision of extra carriages.


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Railways: Greater London

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely economic effect of train ticket price increases on (a) London, (b) non-metropolitan areas and (c) metropolitan areas. [27664]

Mrs Villiers: Despite the economic downturn, passenger numbers are, in general, still increasing and we expect this trend to continue. The fares increase announced recently will help the Government deliver much needed improvements on the rail network including improving conditions and relieving overcrowding on busy routes.

Road Signs and Markings: Tourism

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had on renewing the guidelines for the siting of brown tourist information signage on routes managed by the Highways Agency. [25528]

Mike Penning: The chief executive of the Highways Agency discussed the current tourist signing policy for trunk roads with the Minister for Tourism and Heritage, my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose) on 12 October 2010. The Minister indicated that he is considering these matters in the context of his development of a new national tourism strategy. I am also looking into the issue of brown tourist information signage.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress has been made on rolling stock procurement; and if he will make a statement. [28342]

Mrs Villiers: On 25 November 2010, Official Report, columns 466-68, the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed the procurement process for new Thameslink trains would go ahead. The identification of a preferred bidder and contract award is anticipated for next year.

In addition the Secretary of State announced that most of Britain's ageing Intercity 125 'high speed trains' are to be retired. Two alternative options remain under consideration: a revised and lower cost Intercity Express Programme bid from Agility Trains (Hitachi and John Laing), which envisages a mixture of electric trains and 'hybrid' trains with both electric and diesel engines; and a new proposal for a fleet of new all-electric trains which could be coupled to new diesel locomotives where the overhead electric power lines end.

We are also negotiating with train operators to provide further additional capacity through the procurement of additional carriages in London and other cities. Further details will be announced once these negotiations are concluded. It is expected that the new trains associated with these interventions will be procured by train operators.

Waterloo Station

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to continue to hold a freehold interest in the Waterloo International terminal following any sale. [29190]


14 Dec 2010 : Column 646W

Mrs Villiers: The freehold of the former Waterloo International terminal is currently vested in BRB (Residuary) Ltd. As recently announced by the Cabinet Office on 14 October 2010, it is proposed that BRB (Residuary) Ltd will be abolished. Discussions have started as to how BRB (Residuary) Ltd's current assets, including Waterloo International terminal, will be managed in the future.

The Government are committed to ensuring that the former Eurostar platforms at Waterloo International terminal are brought back into use for domestic passenger services.

Justice

Cemeteries

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) if he will assess the level of compliance of Birmingham city council with his Department's guidance on managing the safety of burial ground memorials since January 2010; [30409]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of graveyards in which memorials have been fitted with temporary wooden stakes in accordance with his Department's guidance on managing the safety of burial ground memorials in 2010 to date. [30512]

Mr Djanogly: Responsibility for the management of local authority cemeteries, including the procedures for the safety of staff and visitors, lies with the relevant council. Burial authorities have been encouraged to take account of the Department's guidance, but we have no plans to carry out individual compliance assessments.

We have not sought to estimate the extent to which wooden or other support stakes for memorials are still being used. Responses to the Ministry of Justice survey of burial ground operators in 2009 indicated that memorials considered to present a risk of causing serious injury were now more likely to be identified by suitable signs rather than to be fitted with stakes. It would be consistent with the Department's memorial safety guidance for the use of such stakes to be reduced.

Legal Costs

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effects of the proposals in the Civil Litigation Funding Green Paper on the prospects of success of personal injury claimants whose costs will be restricted. [30093]

Mr Djanogly: A set of impact assessments were published alongside our "Proposals for Reform of Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations", which include a preliminary assessment of the impact of individual proposals. The preliminary impact assessments can be found at:

and respondents are invited to comment on the preliminary impacts identified.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to provide funding for meritorious and difficult cases in the event that conditional fee agreement success fees and after the event insurance premiums are rendered non-recoverable. [30095]


14 Dec 2010 : Column 647W

Mr Djanogly: The consultation paper, "Proposals for Reform of Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations", published on 15 November 2010, sets out proposals for abolishing recoverability of success fees and after the event insurance premiums. It also includes possible refinements to help the claimants deal with the consequences of non-recoverability. The aim of the proposals is provide access to justice at proportionate costs for claimants and defendants. We will take final decisions on the way forward in the light of the consultation responses.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) if he will estimate the likely annual reduction in income of membership organisations attributable to the implementation of proposals in the Civil Litigation Funding Green Paper; [30096]

(2) if he will estimate the likely annual reduction in income to trades unions attributable to the implementation of proposals in the Civil Litigation Funding Green Paper. [30097]

Mr Djanogly: The consultation paper, "Proposals for Reform of Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations", published on 15 November 2010, includes a proposal to abolish the recoverability of the self-insurance element by membership organisations (as prescribed under section 30 of the Access to Justice 1999), if the recoverability of after the event insurance premiums is abolished as proposed. We intend to consider the potential impacts further over the consultation period and will take into account the views of those responding to our consultations on costs and benefits when reaching final decisions.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) if he will estimate the cost to (a) local authorities and (b) the NHS of care for those involved in accidents who will not pursue claims to pay for treatment as a result of implementation of proposals in the Legal Aid and the Civil Litigation Funding Green Papers; [30098]

(2) if he will assess the effect on clinical standards of the reduction in the number of claims of clinical negligence anticipated by the Legal Aid and the Civil Justice Funding Green Papers. [30099]

Mr Djanogly: I believe that our proposals will enable necessary claims to be brought and will allow access to justice at proportionate costs for claimants and defendants. Precise impacts are of course complicated to assess and subject to uncertainty. We intend to consider the potential impacts further over the consultation period and will take into account the views of those responding to our consultations on costs and benefits when reaching final decisions.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the average likely shortfall in costs to be met by a fast track claimant as the consequence of the proposals in the Civil Litigation Funding Green Paper as augmented by the proposed 10 per cent. uplift in damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in (a) cash terms and (b) as a proportion of the damages recovered. [30100]


14 Dec 2010 : Column 648W

Mr Djanogly: We have made no such estimate at this stage. Preliminary impact assessments were published alongside our "Proposals for Reform of Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales'-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations", available at:

We will take into account the views of those responding to the consultation on costs and benefits when reaching final decisions.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department placed restrictions on whom organisations invited to consultation meetings on the Legal Aid and the Civil Litigation Funding Green Papers might send to such meetings; whether any invited organisations have not been allowed to send delegates they have nominated; and if he will make a statement. [30165]

Mr Djanogly: I held two separate meetings with representative bodies following publication of the legal aid and the civil litigation funding and costs consultation papers. 25 bodies were invited to the former, on the legal aid proposals, and 17 to the latter on civil litigation funding and costs. Due to limitations on the available space, and to facilitate a structured discussion, each organisation was invited to send only one representative. The choice of representative was left to each individual organisation. The consultation continues until 14 February 2011 and Ministry of Justice officials will consider any future meeting requests from individual organisations during this period. In line with the Code of Practice on Consultation, a summary of the comments received for each consultation will be published alongside the Government's official response, which is expected in spring 2011.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will assess the consequences for small businesses of increases to the cost of litigation for commercial disputes. [30218]

Mr Djanogly: The Government are proposing to reduce the cost of litigation rather than just not increase it. This should have positive consequences for small businesses.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what evidence of (a) a compensation culture and (b) perceptions of a compensation culture he evaluated in drawing up his proposals for reform of (i) legal aid and (ii) civil litigation funding. [30242]

Mr Djanogly: Neither the Government's proposals for reform of legal aid nor those for civil litigation funding and costs were informed by specific evidence of compensation culture or perceptions of a compensation culture. However, the Government takes the view that legal aid has been available for a very wide range of issues which has led to the availability of taxpayer funding for unnecessary litigation. Our proposals for reform will ensure that the taxpayer pays for legal advice and litigation only in relation to serious issues which have sufficient priority to justify the use of public funds.


14 Dec 2010 : Column 649W

Our proposals for reform of civil litigation funding and costs are based on Lord Justice Jackson's year-long review of "Civil Litigation Costs". Lord Young of Graffham in his report into the compensation culture and health and safety, "Common Sense, Common Safety", published in October 2010, argues that incentives for claiming compensation must change and strongly endorses the Jackson proposals.

Magistrates Courts: Sentencing

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 17 November 2010, Official Report, column 861W, on magistrates courts: sentencing, if he will place in the Library information on the category of crime into which each case fell. [30483]

Mr Blunt: Pursuant to the answer of 17 November 2010, Official Report, column 861W, two tables (for the years 2008 and 2009) of the number of defendants proceeded against, found guilty, sentenced, sentence breakdown, for offence groups, by local justice area, for England and Wales, have been placed in the House Library.

Prisoners' Transfers: Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders were transferred from prisons in England and Wales to prisons in Northern Ireland in each of the last six years. [30175]

Mr Blunt: The intra-jurisdictional transfer of prisoners between the United Kingdom is governed by the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997.

The number of prisoners transferred from England and Wales to Northern Ireland from 2004 to 2009 is as follows:

Number

2004

5

2005

17

2006

10

2007

14

2008

5

2009

16


Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign nationals were serving prison sentences of (a) four years or less and (b) more than four years on the most recent date for which figures are available. [30079]

Mr Blunt: As at 30 September 2010 there were 3,365 foreign national prisoners serving sentences of less than four years and 4,320 serving sentences of four years or more (including indeterminate sentences).

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording systems, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.


14 Dec 2010 : Column 650W

Prisons: Mobile Phones

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many unauthorised (a) mobile telephones and (b) SIM cards have been found in prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [30355]

Mr Blunt: NOMS is determined to address the risks that mobile phones present to security and to the safety of the public. We have implemented a strategy to minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons, to find phones that do get in and to disrupt mobile phones that cannot be found.

The requested information is set out in the tables but, as the recording methodology changed in April 2010, the figures are not directly comparable.

Analysis of mobile phones and SIM cards is carried out at a central unit. Prior to April 2010, the number of phones and SIM cards that were analysed, or "interrogated", was recorded rather than the total number of "finds". The following table shows the number of interrogations that took place from December 2009 to March 2010. These figures do not reflect any phones or SIM cards not sent to our central unit for analysis, or which were sent but not analysed. A phone containing a SIM card (which would constitute one "find") would usually have been counted as two separate interrogations.

Month , year Total number of "interrogations"

December 2009

675

January 2010

853

February 2010

938

March 2010

869


Since April 2010, prisons in England and Wales have been instructed to send mobile phones and SIM cards for analysis, or to advise if a phone or SIM card has been found but has not been sent for analysis. The following table outlines the total number of "finds" in all prisons for each month from April 2010 to November 2010. One "find" could constitute a mobile phone without a SIM card inside, a SIM card only, or a mobile phone with a SIM card inside.

Total number of "finds"

2010

April

463

May

528

June

859

July

658

August

576

September

659

October

568

November

633


The figures contained in the tables have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. These data are not subject to audit.

Prisons: Mother and Baby Units

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many mothers and babies were held in prison in each of the last five years. [30080]


14 Dec 2010 : Column 651W

Mr Blunt: Between 1 May 2010 and 31 October 2010 the average population of mother and babies in prisons in England was 54 and 51 respectively. The population of mother and baby units includes expectant mothers.

Information prior to this date could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Probation: Working Hours

Claire Perry: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many working days were lost (a) on average per staff member and (b) in total in each probation area in the latest period for which figures are available. [30416]

Mr Blunt: The figures requested are set out in the following table for the period April 2009 to March 2010.

Probation staff sickness absence: 2009-10
Probation board/trust (a) Average days lost due to sickness absence per person (FTE) (b) Total days lost due to sickness absence

Avon and Somerset

6.6

3,518.0

Bedfordshire

10.6

1,941.5

Cambridgeshire

8.4

2,152.3

Cheshire

9.4

3,313.6

Cumbria

8.0

1,445.3

Derbyshire

8.7

3,075.0

Devon and Cornwall

10.9

4,943.4

Dorset

9.1

2,352.7

Durham

9.1

2,445.8

Dyfed Powys

7.8

1,351.0

Essex

8.2

3,605.0

Gloucestershire

8.6

1,489.5

Greater Manchester

10.0

12,001.6

Gwent

13.0

3,174.7

Hampshire

8.7

5,080.0

Hertfordshire

9.1

2,263.0

Humberside

7.5

3,212.4

Kent

11.1

5,000.7

Lancashire

9.4

5,482.1

Leicestershire

7.9

4,029.0

Lincolnshire

7.9

1,801.6

London

12.0

32,660.5

Merseyside

10.2

7,285.7

Norfolk

9.8

2,746.5

North Wales

11.5

2,911.5

North Yorkshire

6.5

1,326.0

Northamptonshire

9.7

2,650.2

Northumbria

12.1

7,608.5

Nottinghamshire

8.3

4,732.7

South Wales

11.3

6,277.7

South Yorkshire

9.5

5,582.3

Staffordshire

11.5

5,082.1

Suffolk

7.9

1,776.7

Surrey

10.1

2,577.9

Sussex

9.5

3,851.1

Teesside

10.8

3,360.6

Thames Valley

10.0

6,568.6

Warwickshire

10.1

1,578.0

West Mercia

8.5

3,138.1

West Midlands

10.0

14,000.6

West Yorkshire

7.2

7,004.1

Wiltshire

9.1

1,600.0

National total

9.8

197,997.3

Data Sources and Quality:
These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

14 Dec 2010 : Column 652W

Self-locking Snares

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions there were for offences related to the use of self-locking snares in Sussex in each year since 2005. [30405]

Mr Blunt: The use of self-locking snares is an offence under section 11 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 but cannot be separately identified from other offences under section 11 by court proceedings data held by the Ministry of Justice.

International Development

Afghanistan: Agriculture

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of agricultural development in conflict resolution in Afghanistan. [30123]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: There are a wide range of factors which impact on the insurgency and conflict resolution in Afghanistan. Of these, reduced legal economic opportunities could be a factor driving some young males into joining the insurgency and armed opposition groups, as well as dissatisfactions associated with poor governance and corruption.

The agricultural sector plays a large part in the economy of Afghanistan. Furthermore, the 'Strategic Conflict Assessment of Afghanistan', published by the Recovery and Development Consortium in November 2008, suggests that men in rural communities are most at risk of recruitment into armed opposition groups. Providing increased and legitimate employment opportunities in the sector may, in addition to improving rural livelihoods, reduce the likelihood of disaffected, unemployed male youths joining the armed opposition. Conflict-sensitive community programmes which operate at the sub-district level may also help reduce tensions as well as resolve disputes over land ownership and natural resources.

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding the Government has provided for (a) agricultural development and (b) emergency food aid in Afghanistan in each of the last five years. [30125]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) spent a total of £31.8 million on the agriculture sector in Afghanistan between 2005-06 and 2009-10. Of this, £30.5 million was spent on agricultural development and emergency food aid. The breakdown of this funding over each of the past five financial years is as follows.

£ million

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total

Emergency Food Aid

0

0

0

14

1.2

15.2

Agricultural Development

2.1

1.2

0

6.5

5.5

15.3


14 Dec 2010 : Column 653W

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to assist agricultural development in Afghanistan. [30190]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Agriculture is the backbone of the Afghan economy, contributing more than one-third of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Department for International Development (DFID) will continue to support a range of agricultural development programmes in Afghanistan over the coming years, to improve access to markets, add value to farmers' produce and provide support for agricultural livelihoods. For example, the new Helmand Growth Programme will provide support to farmers by providing skills training and access to credit and markets, while the Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development Facility provides incentives to sustain the reduction in poppy cultivation, by promoting licit agricultural livelihoods and strengthening agricultural markets. A decision on future programmes supporting agricultural development in Afghanistan will be made following the current Bilateral Aid Review, which will conclude early next year.

Afghanistan: Farmers

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding the Government has provided for climate change adaptation by smallholder farmers in Afghanistan; and what proportion this represented of total Government funding in respect of (a) climate change and (b) climate change adaptation (i) overseas and (ii) in the developing world in each of the last five years. [30124]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Our central recording systems do not capture this level of detail for project expenditure. Compiling the requested information would incur disproportionate cost.

The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and we take this into account in the design and implementation of a number of our development activities, including through our research programme and our adaptation programmes. In 2009 the Stockholm Environment Institute produced a study on the socio-economic impacts of climate change in Afghanistan. This has informed our approach to ensuring that UK aid programmes are screened for their impact on climate change.

The UK Government have committed to provide £1.5 billion in Fast Start finance over the period 2010-12, to help the developing world carry out the urgent work needed to adapt to climate change, adopt clean technology and reduce emissions from deforestation. In 2010-11 the UK is providing approximately 41% of its Fast Start allocation for adaptation, a significant share of which has been designed to benefit smallholder farmers. The Department is in the course of monitoring and evaluating the impact of these ongoing programmes.

Afghanistan: Food

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the level of threat to food security in Afghanistan. [30121]


14 Dec 2010 : Column 654W

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The food security situation in Afghanistan is not considered critical. Based on information from the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), national wheat prices have risen but remain affordable, and the availability of wheat is better than average due to last year's bumper harvest and better than average production this year. There is an overall grain shortage of around 750,000 metric tonnes, however there is good access to imports from Kazakhstan. The Government of Afghanistan and the international community, including the FAO and the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), are closely following the situation and have the capacity to provide support to food insecure areas and groups if required.

Burundi: Agriculture

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how much his Department spent on agricultural development in Burundi in each of the last five years; [29932]

(2) what plans his Department has to provide agricultural development assistance to Burundi. [29983]

Mr O'Brien: Support from the Department for International Development (DFID) in the agricultural sector in Burundi in the last five years has been focused on food security interventions, with a total of £1.88 million contributed through the World Food Programme (WFP) and a UNDP-managed emergency support fund.

Details of funding in each financial year are as follows.

Financial Year £ million

2005-06

1.23

2006-07

0.65


DFID has no plans to provide direct support to the agricultural sector in Burundi in the future. However, DFID supports the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), which has so far provided a total of £540,000 to two businesses in Burundi for agricultural initiatives. Businesses are selected through a competitive process according to the criteria applied by the relevant funding window.

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how much the Government has spent on climate change adaptation for smallholder farmers in Burundi in each of the last five years; and what proportion of total Government expenditure on (a) climate change programmes overseas, (b) climate change adaptation overseas, (c) climate change programmes in developing countries and (d) climate change adaptation in developing countries this represents; [29979]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to assist the poorest and most marginal farmers in Burundi to adapt to climate change (a) currently, (b) in the next five to 10 years and (c) over the next 50 years. [29980]

Mr O'Brien: The UK has not supported smallholder farmers in Burundi to adapt to climate change in the last five years.


14 Dec 2010 : Column 655W

Although the Department for International Development (DFID) does not plan to provide direct support to the agricultural sector in Burundi, we support two initiatives which could benefit farmers in the country. DFID has funded a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) into the economic effects of climate change in Burundi. DFID has also provided $15 million to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), for a new funding window on renewable energy and adaptation to climate technologies. This will provide matching funding to those businesses from the East African Community, including Burundi, that are successful in a competitive application process, and aims to support initiatives that will have a direct impact on the rural poor.

Burundi: Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to provide assistance to Burundi for the purposes of meeting its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme commitments. [29982]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) strongly supports implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union, to establish long term investment plans and increase the proportion of national budgets for agriculture. DFID is supporting the CAADP process through a £10 million grant to a Multi-Donor Trust fund with the World Bank, which facilitates implementation of CAADP. We do not provide separate bilateral funding to Burundi to support CAADP implementation.

Burundi: Food

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent assessment he has made of food security in Burundi; [29930]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the likely effects of climate change on (a) agriculture and (b) food security in Burundi. [29931]

Mr O'Brien: The 2010 global hunger index ranks Burundi as one of four countries in the world with an 'extremely alarming' level of hunger. More than 50% of people in Burundi are undernourished. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that Burundi has a chronic deficit of 300,000 tonnes of cereals. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that Burundi's average per capita production is 1,400 kilocalories per clay, compared to a recommended daily intake of 2,100. Even during harvest season, households spend up to 60% of their income on food.

The Department for International Development (DFID) funded a recent study by the Stockholm Environment Institute into the economic effects of climate change in Burundi. This projects risks of higher temperatures and reduced rainfall, as well as a greater incidence of events producing high intensity rainfall in a short period. Prolonged dryness can create groundwater scarcity and reduced pastureland, which in turn would lead to the loss of harvests and of livestock production. In order to adapt successfully, Burundi would need to diversify its
14 Dec 2010 : Column 656W
commercial crops and introduce more effective agricultural production systems, including agroforestry and terracing. Without adaptation, Burundi would be at risk of chronic famines.

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on emergency food aid to Burundi in each of the last five years. [29933]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £3.17 million of emergency food aid to Burundi in the last five years, through the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Details of funding in each financial year are as follows.

Financial year £ million

2005-06

1.77

2006-07

0.7

2007-08

0.7


Departmental Conferences

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's annual budget for conferences was at (a) 7 May 2010 and (b) 7 December 2010. [30028]

Mr O'Brien: Detailed information on the Department for International Development's (DFID) budget planned for conferences is not centrally held and therefore not available without incurring disproportionate cost.

However, in accordance with the cross-government freeze on marketing and advertising spending, all conferences paid for by DFID are being reviewed and agreed on a case-by-case basis.

Developing Countries: Civil Society

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to encourage the strengthening of civil society and local media in developing countries in order to help citizens hold their governments to account. [30209]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) supports the strengthening of civil society and local media in developing countries through many centrally managed funds and in-country programmes. For example, DFID launched in October the new Global Poverty Action Fund which supports civil society organisations focused on service delivery in support of poverty reduction and the most off-track Millennium Development Goals in poor countries.

Support for this work is also provided through the Civil Society Challenge Fund and the Governance and Transparency Fund with more than 167 projects in more than 90 developing countries building the capacity of more than 800 local civil society and media organisations to enable them to better support citizens to hold their own governments to account.


14 Dec 2010 : Column 657W

Developing Countries: Micro-level Insurance Services

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to support the provision of affordable micro-level insurance services in developing countries. [30208]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) supports the FinMark Trust for Southern Africa, which has developed a far reaching programme on micro-insurance. Further to its research on the opportunities and constraints for delivering insurance to low-income households in South Africa, the trust has supported diagnostic studies, regulatory reforms and business innovations in several countries, including Ethiopia and Zambia. This is partly through sponsorship of the global Access to Insurance Initiative. In Kenya, the DFID supported Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) has supported micro-insurance in two ways: by advising on the design of Safaricom and Equity Bank's M-Kesho product; and to develop and demonstrate the market viability of index-based insurance products to reduce the impact of weather risk on smallholder farmers and pastrolists.

In India, DFID's Poorest States Inclusive Growth Programme (currently under design) is expected to facilitate the development of a range of affordable financial products, including insurance. By the end of 2015, our aim is for an additional 3 million women in the four poorest states to have access to insurance services. We are also supporting the institutional strengthening of the microfinance sector in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, thereby indirectly assisting the development of a range of financial products including micro-insurance. Going forward, DFID is considering how to further enhance the provision of affordable micro-insurance in a range of countries, in line with its 2011-15 business plan commitment. Further details will be released in due course.

Developing Countries: Money Laundering

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking in co-operation with the International Monetary Fund to tackle money laundering in developing countries. [30207]

Mr O'Brien: Corruption seriously undermines development efforts, and impacts most upon the poor. Anti-money laundering is an important tool for increasing the chances of getting caught, and sanctioned, when using the proceeds of corruption. Support for strengthening anti-money laundering systems in developing countries is a core dimension of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) anti-corruption strategy.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) aims to improve global compliance with anti-money laundering standards. It is addressing this through targeted assistance to countries on the basis of need and willingness to engage, with a focus on low and middle income countries. Assistance is offered through a module-based approach tailored to each country's context, and includes: needs assessments; risk-based approach to anti-money laundering; strengthening the legal and regulatory framework; and
14 Dec 2010 : Column 658W
enforcement of anti-money laundering regimes by national institutions. Recipients of assistance since mid 2009 include Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam and the West Bank and Gaza.

DFID has committed £1.3 million to the IMF for this work from January 2010 to April 2014. This is provided through a multi-donor trust fund (other donors include Switzerland, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Japan). DFID sits on the Steering Committee for the Trust Fund.

Great Lakes: Agriculture

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the potential role for agricultural development in providing (a) an incentive to desist from conflict and (b) a subsequent peace dividend for the Great Lakes region. [29981]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not done such an assessment for the countries in Great Lakes region specifically, but our experience in post-conflict environments is that economic interventions in agriculture can be an important tool for stabilisation. For example, in Rwanda, agricultural development will continue to be the primary driver for poverty reduction which, in turn, should help to reduce conflict. In addition, DFID's Land Tenure programme is helping to reduce conflicts by settling land disputes in Rwanda.

DFID is also supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union, through a £10 million contribution to the CAADP Multi Donor Trust fund at the World Bank. The CAADP is assisting countries in the Great Lakes region to establish long term investment plans for agriculture, including increasing the proportion of national budgets for agriculture.

India: Agriculture

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment his Department has made of the effects of climate change on (a) agriculture and (b) food security in India. [30007]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) has supported a number of publicly available assessments of the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security. These are available at:

and

Economic and population growth is increasing the demand for water, food and energy in many countries, India included. Our assessment is that climate change is compounding this and will impact on agriculture and food security in India in a number of ways. Temperature increases, unpredictable monsoons and disease could reduce agricultural productivity, which could contribute to further increases in the price of food, food insecurity and child malnutrition. The poorest people are likely to feel the hardest impacts, with women and children being most affected.


14 Dec 2010 : Column 659W

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what steps his Department is taking to seek to ensure that the (a) poorest and (b) most marginal farmers in India can adapt to climate change in (i) 2010-11, (ii) the next five to 10 years and (iii) the next 50 years; [30008]

(2) what plans his Department has to assist India in its agricultural development. [30138]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting the poorest and most marginal farmers in the Indian states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to increase their income, diversify their livelihoods, improve their food security and better adapt to climate change (through forestry, water resources development, rain-fed farming and decentralising rural administration). In 2010-11, we are supporting 20,680 of the poorest households and 16,503 of the most marginal farmer households in these states to adapt to climate change.

In terms of future plans, the Secretary of State for International Development has launched a bilateral aid review of all DFID country programmes, including India, to ensure that we are giving aid where it is most needed, to help the world's poorest people. We are in close dialogue with the Government of India about the future of the India programme. Details will be announced upon conclusion of the review process.

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much the Government has spent on (a) agricultural development and (b) emergency food aid for India in each of the last five years. [30010]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) spent the following on agricultural development in India in each of the last five years.

Financial year £ million

2009-10

6.7

2008-09

11.2

2007-08

14.4

2006-07

17.1

2005-06

14.2


The UK Government have not provided emergency food aid to India in any of the last five years as the Indian Government has not requested us to.

India: Climate Change

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on climate change adaptation for smallholder farmers in India in each of the last five years; and what proportion this represents of (a) total spending on climate change overseas, (b) total spending on climate change adaptation overseas, (c) total spending on climate change in the developing world and (d) total spending on climate change adaptation in the developing world in each such year. [30139]


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Mr Andrew Mitchell: Our central recording systems do not capture this level of detail for project expenditure. Compiling the requested information would incur disproportionate cost.

The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and we take this into account in the design and implementation of a number of our development activities, including through our research programme and our adaptation programmes.

The UK Government have committed to provide £1.5 billion in Fast Start finance over the period 2010-12, to help the developing world carry out the urgent work needed to adapt to climate change, adopt clean technology and reduce emissions from deforestation. In 2010-11 the UK is providing approximately 41% of its Fast Start allocation for adaptation, a significant share of which has been designed to benefit smallholder farmers. The Department is in the course of monitoring and evaluating the impact of these ongoing programmes.

India: Food

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the food security situation in India. [30009]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), there are 237.7 million undernourished people in India (FAO, 2010). India's 2007 National Family Health Survey (3) estimates that 43% of Indian children are underweight.

The British Government have contributed to the following publicly available assessments of the food security situation in India: the National and state level Rural Food Security Atlases produced by the World Food Programme and the MS Swaminathan Foundation:

and the International Food Policy Research Institute Hunger and State Level Hunger Indexes:

The Department for International Development (DFID) has also recently supported an analysis of the two latest rounds of India's National Family Health Survey. State comparisons show that child nutrition improved most when women had their first child later or had better household access to food grains.

Namibia: Food

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the food security situation in Namibia. [29937]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides financial support to the Southern Africa Development Community to strengthen monitoring of, and responses towards, improved food security. Through this programme, DFID has supported the Namibia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) to produce the National Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (VAA) Comprehensive Assessment in August
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2010-11, which includes an assessment of the current state of vulnerability and a prognosis for 2011. Main findings were that immediate food security responses were required for northern populations and that a substantial portion of the population throughout the country had limited access to basic services. The Government of Namibia has taken action to address these findings.

Swaziland: Maternity Services

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the government of Swaziland on the provision of clean and sanitary conditions in maternity units in that country to help prevent the spread of HIV to newborn babies. [30166]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not have a bilateral aid programme in Swaziland.

The UK Government supports the call for the elimination of paediatric AIDS and is working with others to scale up prevention of mother to child transmission services.

Home Department

Animal Experiments: Primates

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of wild-caught primates to be used in scientific research in the UK in (a) 2015 and (b) 2020. [30404]

Lynne Featherstone: Since 1995 Home Office policy has prohibited the use of wild-caught non-human primates except where exceptional and specific justification can be established. Application of these stringent criteria has meant that the Home Office has not authorised the first time use of any wild-caught primates in regulated procedures in the United Kingdom for more than 10 years. I cannot foresee any future circumstances in which such exceptional and specific justification would be established.

Asylum

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her policy is on no-notice removals for families unsuccessful in seeking asylum. [30140]

Damian Green: Since the ruling in the High Court on 16 July, the UK Border Agency's policy is not to carry out reduced notice removals. The agency's policy is to give at least 72 hours notice of removal. However, previous to the injunction issued on 21 May 2010, in exceptional circumstances where the removal could not be managed in any other way, a policy of giving a reduced period of notice was used.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department plans to take to ensure that asylum-seeking families have access to good quality legal advice in the early stages of the asylum-seeking process. [30141]


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Damian Green: We work closely with the Ministry of Justice, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to ensure that applicants are able to access appropriate levels of advice.

The LSC has introduced the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme (IAAS), which requires all advisers doing publicly funded work to be accredited to an appropriate standard and this became compulsory in August 2005.

On 15 November the Early Legal Advice Project (ELAP) was launched. This project is a new approach that will be tested in the midlands and east region to improve decisions through early legal advice. ELAP will ensure that all applicants, including asylum seeking families, in the midlands and east region have the opportunity to access legal advice regarding their asylum claim early on in the process. The legal representatives that are taking part in ELAP have all been approved by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and are required to be level 2 qualified.


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