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NHS: Reform

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on multi-disciplinary and multi-agency involvement in commissioning under his proposals for NHS reform. [41531]

Mr Simon Burns: “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” described our plans to establish a comprehensive system of general practitioner (GP) consortia to commission most national health service services, supported by and accountable to a new independent NHS Commissioning Board. We believe that effective GP commissioning will require the full range of clinical and professional input alongside that of local people. Hospital doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals and others all have a vital role to play and a real opportunity to develop services and improve the health outcomes of their local populations. GP consortia will need to ensure that they have access to and draw upon the necessary expertise of those working in health and social care to ensure that they have the most appropriate specialist input into their commissioning decisions.

The Health and Social Care Bill therefore proposes to place a duty on the NHS Commissioning Board and GP consortia to make arrangements to ensure that they have appropriate advice from professionals with expertise in health. We believe, however, that the Board and consortia should have the freedom and flexibility to decide how best they exercise this duty, rather than rely on rigid prescribed structures.

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Obesity

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the relationship between activity levels and obesity in the last five years. [41247]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department's National Institute for Health Research funds a wide range of research relating to obesity including evaluations of interventions to increase activity levels and decrease sedentary behaviour.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) receives its funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge is carrying out work on interventions designed to increase physical activity, and to monitor its impact on health. The unit is also examining the interactions between physical activity and physical fitness in relation to metabolic risk, and whether sedentary behaviour is related to obesity and metabolic risk when the total amount of physical activity is controlled for.

In 2009, the Department of Health set up an expert group to review existing evidence on the impact of sedentary behaviour, including screen time on obesity, and the impact on health and activity levels. In addition, a separate expert group was set up in 2009 to review the evidence for early years physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

Obesity: Surgery

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has any plans for a change to the tariff for metabolic surgery; and if he will make a statement. [42547]

Mr Simon Burns: The national payment by results tariffs are subject to ongoing development. The Department works with a number of clinical and technical advisory groups that provide advice on the structure and scope of the tariff.

Draft tariffs are shared with clinicians each year for ‘sense checking’. This is a key stage in tariff development, through which any anomalies or perverse clinical incentives can be identified and addressed prior to the publication of the tariff for ‘road testing’ by the national health service.

The final tariff for 2011-12 was published on 18 February 2011 and is available on the Department’s website at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_124356

Patient Preference

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to ensure that appropriate information and support is available to ensure that patient preferences for decision-making organisations are respected. [41522]

Mr Simon Burns: Our vision for health and adult social care as set out in the White Paper, “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” emphasises the importance of people’s access to the information they need to stay healthy, to take decisions about and exercise more control of their care and to make the right choices for themselves

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and their families. We have recently concluded two separate consultations on the action required to make this vision a reality—‘Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution’; and ‘Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control’—and have received valuable feedback from organisations, professionals, patients and service users. We are analysing the responses. The analysis will be used to help determine how best to equip patients, as well as those providing care, with the information and support they need to access appropriate health and care services.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to ensure that the NHS Commissioning Board and GP consortia demonstrate patient and carer involvement in service (a) commissioning, (b) design and (c) development. [41523]

Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill places a duty on general practitioner (GP) consortia and the NHS Commissioning Board to ensure that people who receive a service are involved in its planning and development, and to promote and extend public and patient involvement and choice.

However, we do not plan to prescribe the precise mechanisms by which the Board or consortia need to engage with the public. We want to ensure that the focus is on developing behaviours and cultures that will encourage and facilitate public involvement and patient voice in the commissioning and development of health services.

Post-menopausal Osteoporosis

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) predicted and (b) observed prescribed number of defined daily doses of treatment for post-menopausal osteoporosis was in each primary care trust in the latest period for which figures are available. [41283]

Mr Simon Burns: The following tables show the expected estimated number of defined daily doses at primary care trust (PCT) and strategic health authority (SHA) level for medicines for the treatment for post-menopausal osteoporosis. These estimates have been derived by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) from its costing template for the relevant technology appraisal and have been updated, where possible, to take into account the most up-to-date and robust information available. These figures do not represent NICE'S view of desirable maximum or minimum figures. Furthermore, the estimated use in PCTs is based on national assumptions and scaled down to approximate numbers at PCT level. It does not take account of any local variations, such as varying prevalence of osteoporosis and socioeconomic compositions.

The following tables also show the actual use observed for 2009 in prescriptions written in England and dispensed in the community in the United Kingdom.

Predicted and observed use may differ for a variety of reasons and should not be assumed to indicate either ‘under’ or ‘over’ prescribing.

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Thousand
PCT Predicted defined daily doses (1) Observed defined daily doses in 2009 (2)

Ashton, Leigh and Wigan

1,203.1

1,485.0

Barking and Dagenham

486.6

1,192.6

Barnet

1,178.7

1,757.4

Barnsley

954.8

1,458.9

Bassetlaw

464.6

720.3

Bath and North East Somerset

760.2

1,914.5

Bedfordshire

1,577.4

1,534.9

Berkshire East

1,303.2

1,205.8

Berkshire West

1,598.3

884.9

Bexley Care Trust

843.8

2,275.1

Birmingham East and North

1,462.0

1,591.5

Blackburn with Darwen

516.5

3,531.7

Blackpool

597.6

1,179.5

Bolton

1,008.2

3,150.3

Bournemouth and Poole Teaching

1,450.6

1,205.3

Bradford and Airedale Teaching

1,709.0

3,348.8

Brent Teaching

826.9

1,262.0

Brighton and Hove City

889.4

848.4

Bristol

1,376.5

331.8

Bromley

1,241.5

701.6

Buckinghamshire

1,994.0

913.9

Bury

712.3

2,642.1

Calderdale

801.0

2,363.8

Cambridgeshire

2,253.8

1,046.9

Camden

568.0

3,603.6

Central and Eastern Cheshire

1,928.5

1,519.1

Central Lancashire

1,760.2

4,331.1

City and Hackney Teaching

521.3

1,327.3

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

2,608.9

1,411.9

County Durham

2,175.1

880.8

Coventry Teaching

1,142.4

1,027.0

Croydon

1,121.0

1,408.6

Cumbria Teaching

2,350.7

1,553.3

Darlington

415.7

1,336.7

Derby City

1,003.5

654.2

Derbyshire County

3,032.0

2,740.1

Devon

3,630.4

3,298.0

Doncaster

1,219.4

3,531.8

Dorset

2,077.8

1,032.4

Dudley

1,277.3

1,167.7

Ealing

943.9

764.3

East and North Hertfordshire

2,102.7

1,159.5

East Lancashire Teaching

1,492.0

1,349.2

East Riding of Yorkshire

1,467.2

3,275.5

East Sussex Downs and Weald

1,677.3

1,140.0

Eastern and Coastal Kent

3,197.1

1,633.6

Enfield

909.9

2,259.2

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Gateshead

815.0

3,292.9

Gloucestershire

2,514.2

533.8

Great Yarmouth and Waveney

1,087.8

817.6

Greenwich Teaching

683.2

1,392.2

Halton and St Helens

1,238.3

1,425.3

Hammersmith and Fulham

455.0

2,577.5

Hampshire

5,411.7

2,346.6

Haringey Teaching

644.2

1,087.8

Harrow

748.0

2,597.9

Hartlepool

363.5

1,932.8

Hastings and Rother

890.6

1,264.7

Havering

1,027.7

2,088.0

Heart of Birmingham

637.8

937.6

Herefordshire

865.5

2,198.3

Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale

767.4

3,317.2

Hillingdon

831.4

1,684.8

Hounslow

667.0

1,228.6

Hull Teaching

994.9

1,107.2

Isle of Wight NHS

727.5

2,542.3

Islington

468.2

1,196.1

Kensington and Chelsea

650.8

898.6

Kingston

559.0

885.8

Kirklees

1,470.9

1,428.5

Knowsley

577.2

4,223.5

Lambeth

673.2

601.1

Leeds

2,709.4

3,586.5

Leicester City

948.3

1,878.6

Leicestershire County and Rutland

2,706.8

2,410.8

Lewisham

694.3

1,415.0

Lincolnshire

3,303.7

1,394.5

Liverpool

1,638.9

870.7

Luton

551.0

729.3

Manchester

1,372.3

1,951.4

Medway

973.5

5,601.2

Mid Essex

1,455.1

5,739.9

Middlesbrough

541.5

1,700.1

Milton Keynes

756.8

2,029.2

Newcastle

936.5

1,369.5

Newham

564.9

866.7

Norfolk

3,470.9

2,237.8

North East Essex

1,472.8

2,054.6

North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus

672.6

4,750.9

North Lancashire Teaching

1,533.5

1,124.4

North Lincolnshire

693.9

1,822.3

North Somerset

943.3

767.2

North Staffordshire

911.1

1,878.8

Stockton-on-Tees Teaching

736.9

1,255.4

North Tyneside

885.9

1,656.5

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North Yorkshire and York

3,496.9

1,669.5

Northamptonshire Teaching

2,520.2

1,886.7

Northumberland Care Trust

1,476.7

2,681.0

Nottingham City

872.0

2,253.9

Nottinghamshire County Teaching

2,725.0

1,979.4

Oldham

825.0

1,297.2

Oxfordshire

2,310.3

900.2

Peterborough

528.5

887.0

Plymouth Teaching

1,008.0

1,151.9

Portsmouth City Teaching

686.8

2,373.1

Redbridge

803.2

1,586.3

Redcar and Cleveland

580.9

1,303.9

Richmond and Twickenham

611.7

891.9

Rotherham

994.7

3,396.3

Salford

800.5

3,012.8

San dwell

1,141.4

2,849.1

Sefton

1,273.5

941.6

Sheffield

1,989.5

1,901.7

Shropshire County

1,367.3

1,227.3

Solihull Care Trust

890.8

1,442.6

Somerset

2,479.7

1,657.5

South Birmingham

1,254.2

1,287.9

South East Essex

1,499.6

1,006.1

South Gloucestershire

944.0

649.7

South Staffordshire

2,491.4

2,880.6

South Tyneside

643.8

1,433.4

South West Essex

1,540.9

1,903.9

Southampton City

788.3

665.0

Southwark

629.4

1,107.4

Stockport

1,174.8

970.9

Stoke on Trent

1,034.0

1,252.9

Suffolk

2,635.5

1,698.5

Sunderland Teaching

1,123.7

971.7

Surrey

4,423.2

1,558.3

Sutton and Merton

1,210.6

880.3

Swindon

690.1

1,403.0

Tameside and Glossop

863.5

1,280.7

Telford and Wrekin

605.7

1,449.2

Torbay Care Trust

719.9

1,240.1

Tower Hamlets

410.5

478.3

Trafford

819.8

2,139.0

Wakefield District

1,357.5

2,892.9

Walsall Teaching

984.3

844.0

Waltham Forest

651.5

678.0

Wandsworth Teaching

726.7

720.2

Warrington

753.8

2,865.0

Warwickshire

2,188.9

1,958.0

West Essex

1,068.6

2,958.5

West Hertfordshire

2,058.7

1,134.8

West Kent

2,717.4

1,716.9

West Sussex

3,664.0

1,563.4

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Western Cheshire

1,075.9

1,112.0

Westminster

653.4

1,240.4

Wiltshire

1,935.5

1,571.7

Wirral

1,403.9

2,276.0

Wolverhampton City

919.9

1,175.5

Worcestershire

2,420.4

1,695.5

Thousand
SHA Predicted defined daily doses (1) Observed defined daily doses in 2009 (2)

East Midlands

17,576

19,754

East of England

23,303

29,851

London

23,005

33,073

North East

10,695

16,776

North West

27,688

38,450

South Central

15,577

19,278

South East Coast

18,432

26,743

South West

23,139

31,565

West Midlands

21,594

26,523

Yorkshire and the Humber

20,532

25,108

Source s : (1) National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Includes alendronic acid, disodium etidronate, sodium risedronate, strontium ranelate and raloxifene. These figures are estimates only and are not to be taken as the NICE view of desirable, or maximum or minimum figures. They are derived by apportioning the national estimate on the basis of the number of women aged 50 and over registered with general practices in each PCT. (2) Prescribing Analysis and CosT tool (PACT) system Excludes medicines supplied through hospital clinics. It is not possible to identify whether a medicine has been used for the purposes appraised by NICE as these medicines are also used for the treatment of men and pre-menopausal women. Some preparations of sodium risedronate and disodium etidronate are excluded where it was clear from the strength that they were intended for treatment of Paget’s disease. For combined products, such as sodium risedronate with calcium carbonate and colecalciferol, any content additional to the drugs in NICE’s guidance is excluded.

Respite Care

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the provision of respite care for families of (a) profoundly mentally ill people and (b) physically ill people over the comprehensive spending review period. [41248]

Paul Burstow: No specific assessment of the provision of respite care for families of profoundly mentally ill or physically ill people has been made.

However, the Government's updated Carers Strategy, ‘Recognised, valued and supported: Next steps for the Carers Strategy’, sets out the overarching priority areas for action over the next four years. This includes the provision of personalised support for carers and those they support, and supporting carers to remain mentally and physically well. This may include carers of people with mental or physical illnesses.

The Carers' Strategy also identified that £400 million will be made available for carers' breaks over the next four years (2011-12 to 2014-15). This funding will be

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made available in primary care trust (PCT) allocations. This funding is not ring-fenced so that local government and the national health service have as much discretion as possible, to concentrate resources on local priorities. These funds can therefore be used to provide breaks for all carers, including those supporting people who are mentally or physically ill.

The ‘Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2011/12’ makes clear that the additional funding in PCT baselines to support the provision of breaks for carers should be pooled budgets with local authorities to provide carers' breaks. For 2011-12, PCTs should agree policies, plans and budgets to support carers with local authorities and local carers' organisations, and make them available to local people.

The Department for Education announced in December that they are providing over £800 million over the next four years for short breaks for families of disabled children as part of the new Early Intervention Grant. The Government will be providing £198 million/£202 million/£206 million/£210 million for short breaks over the next four years including the Child Trust Fund money of at least £20 million each year. The Early Intervention Grant is not ring-fenced and it will be for local authorities to determine how they use that resource to best effect, including what services would be funded for families with disabled children.

Swine Flu

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the (a) Northern Ireland Executive, (b) Scottish Executive and (c) Welsh Assembly Government on a collective response to swine influenza. [41755]

Anne Milton: Discussions with the devolved Administrations at both ministerial and official level are regular and ongoing on all public health issues including swine flu and pandemic planning.

Treatment Centres

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) operations performed by and (b) minimum payment guarantees issued to each independent treatment centre in each year since 2003. [41886]

Mr Simon Burns: The information has been placed in the Library. The following table shows the amounts paid to each independent sector treatment centre compared to the value of the procedures performed for each calendar year to 31 December 2010.

International Development

Burma: Overseas Aid

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken to ensure appropriate scrutiny of the recently announced increase in aid to Burma to reduce the risk of misappropriation of funds. [42345]

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Mr Duncan: Future UK aid to Burma will continue to be delivered through the United Nations and reputable non-government organisations (NGOs) which have in place stringent monitoring mechanisms. UK funds will not be channelled through the Burmese central Government. Department for International Development (DFID) staff will monitor the delivery of our aid through field visits, direct contacts with beneficiaries, clear reporting requirements for recipient organisations and a close examination of their budgets and annual audited statements.

UK aid will also be subject to independent evaluations. Large programmes in Burma will have mechanisms that enable beneficiaries to raise concerns and have them investigated.

Central America: Overseas Aid

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department provides to projects in central America with which the charity Casa Alianza is involved. [42234]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not provide direct assistance to any projects involving the charity Casa Alianza.

DFID provides considerable support to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) which have a child-rights focus and work with vulnerable children globally, including in Central America. This includes UK charities such as Save the Children UK, Plan International UK and World Vision UK. DFID’s aim is to ensure that the support provided includes assistance to vulnerable children and young people and addresses the breadth of their needs. This includes children living on the street as well as those living with HIV and AIDS, those who are orphaned, or working in abusive labour conditions.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Debts Written Off

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much debt cancellation for the Democratic Republic of Congo has contributed to UK Official Development Assistance in the latest period for which figures are available, and how much has been transferred from his Department to the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of such cancellation. [42266]

Mr O'Brien: The Democratic Republic of Congo reached completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in July 2010 and received its final debt treatment at the Paris Club in November 2010. Following this, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) cancelled all of the £91 million of remaining debt, which will all contribute to the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance. No Department for International Development (DFID) contribution to ECGD was required in this case.

Departmental Interpreters

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for which services provided by (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies interpreters provide services in a language or languages other than English; how many interpreters

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are employed or subcontracted for each non-English language; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of interpretation costs incurred in the latest period for which figures are available. [42895]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not provide interpretation services, and does not employ an interpreter on a permanent basis. DFID country offices may procure interpretation services, through a provider contracted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Any cost of procuring these services is not held centrally and cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

DFID has one non-departmental public body, The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, which does not provide interpretation services.

Departmental Policy

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what account he has taken of the Compact between the Government and Civil Society in policy development. [42608]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) is fully committed to the terms and the spirit of the Compact and strives to ensure that the civil society sector is fully consulted before policy decisions are taken. For example, before designing the new Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF), DFID organised a consultation process seeking views from civil society organisations from around the globe. These views helped shape the final policies and criteria for this new fund.

Gaza: Electricity Supply

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has made to the Government of Israel on the supply of electricity to Gaza and its effect on essential services including water supply, sewage treatment and health services. [42226]

Mr Duncan: The UK has not made any specific representations to Israel on the supply of electricity to Gaza as we do not see Israeli restrictions on supplies of electricity or fuel as being the main current cause of electricity shortages in Gaza. Israel continues to provide 120 megawatts (MW) of electricity per day directly to Gaza which meets approximately 43% of Gaza's power needs and is paid for by the Palestinian Authority. Egypt provides a further 17MW and the balance of Gaza's power needs (approximately 140MW) should be met by the Gaza power plant. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) is now buying diesel fuel, which is sourced via tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, to operate two turbines in the power station to produce 60MW, and has not requested any industrial fuel from Israel since 5 January 2011. The majority of the population still experience power cuts, but these are now four to six hours a day, down from eight to 12 hours per day since mid-December 2010.

28 Feb 2011 : Column 150W

International Assistance

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking together with other countries to improve the delivery of international aid. [41801]

Mr Duncan: 2011 is a crucial year to make international aid more effective. DFID is playing an important role in implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. In November, donors and partners will meet at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Korea to decide on further commitments to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. DFID will continue to be an international leader on implementing approaches that increase the effectiveness of aid, and we expect to play an important role in the run up to the High Level Forum. DFID’s Business Plan 2011-15 sets out a strong agenda on results, value for money, transparency and accountability; and this will be central to our approach to making aid more effective internationally.

Microfinance

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department requires microfinance initiatives to which it contributes funding to produce a strategic plan outlining how the initiative will become sustainable. [41887]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) rarely provides direct funding support to microfinance organisations. Our work on microfinance is incorporated into broader financial sector development programmes, which have a range of interventions including policy and regulatory reform, capacity building, product innovation and research. Programmes are often implemented by intermediaries, such as non-governmental organisations, central banks, government agencies or in partnership with other donors.

Organisations supported by DFID must submit business plans demonstrating how the initiative will become sustainable and contribute to poverty reduction. Economic, social and institutional appraisals are conducted to assess the feasibility of the business plan. All programmes are reviewed annually to track progress against agreed indicators, and on completion, to evaluate their development impact. For example, DFID's Financial Inclusion Programme (FIP), implemented through the State Bank of Pakistan (SPB), aims to increase the sustainability of the financial sector through capacity building, product development and regulatory reform. FIP also supports the transformation of donor-dependent, unregulated microfinance institutions into regulated microfinance banks and provides guarantees to help them access commercial financing.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development to which profit-making microfinance organisations his Department provides funding; and what level of support has been provided to each such organisation in the latest period for which figures are available. [41888]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) rarely provides direct funding support to microfinance organisations. Our work on

28 Feb 2011 : Column 151W

microfinance is incorporated into broader financial sector development programmes, which have a range of interventions including policy and regulatory reform, capacity building, product innovation and research. Programmes are often implemented by intermediaries, such as non-governmental organisations, central banks, government agencies, or in partnership with other donors. It is therefore not possible to identify profit-making microfinance organisations, which may have benefited from DFID-funded financial sector development programmes without incurring disproportionate cost.

DFID is working to increase the sustainability of the commercial microfinance sector. For example, the Financial Inclusion Programme (FIP) in Pakistan is supporting the transition of donor-dependent, unregulated microfinance institutions into stable, regulated microfinance banks and provides guarantees to help them access commercial financing on a sustainable basis.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has provided for microfinance initiatives in (a) Eastern and Southern Africa, (b) West and Central Africa, (c) North Africa and the Middle East, (d) South Asia, (e) Central Asia, (f) East Asia and the Pacific, (g) the Caribbean, (h) Europe and (i) Latin America in the latest period for which figures are available. [41943]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not have any active microfinance programmes in east Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe or Latin America. The requested information for the other regions cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. Examples of financial sector development programmes that incorporate DFID's work on microfinance in these regions include:

Eastern and Southern Africa: The FinMark Trust in Southern Africa and the Financial Sector Deepening Trusts in Kenya and Tanzania which aim to promote access to finance for poor people through identifying and resolving constraints on financial market development.

West and Central Africa: The Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFinA) programme funded jointly with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Nigeria is supporting the development of a new financial inclusion strategy, the innovation of new financial products, capacity building for financial institutions and research on the use of financial services among poor households.

North Africa and the Middle East: DFID is supporting a $150 million multi- donor regional programme implemented by the International Finance Corporation in 19 countries and territories in north Africa and the middle east, which includes microfinance initiatives through the Access to Finance component.

South Asia: DFID's £50 million Financial Inclusion Programme, implemented through the State Bank of Pakistan (SPB), aims to increase the sustainability of the financial sector through capacity building, product development and regulatory reform.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) performance and (b) client protection requirements his Department places on recipients of financing provided to apex funds for microfinance projects. [41944]

Mr O'Brien: Providing access to stable, sustainable, quality and affordable financial services for the poor is the objective of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) financial sector development programmes, including support for apex institutions.

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All organisations funded by DFID are reviewed annually to assess their performance against an agreed set of indicators, and on completion, to evaluate their development impact.

Measures to improve client protection are key criteria of DFID's financial sector development programmes. For example, DFID's Financial Inclusion programme in Pakistan incorporates a comprehensive strategy to safeguard client interests through capacity building for financial institutions, regulatory reform and financial education. DFID also supports the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the multi-donor think tank on microfinance housed in the World Bank, which leads on client protection issues. CGAP has also quantitatively assessed the performance of 34 apex institutions in achieving their original development objectives and in improving the sustainability of microfinance institutions. The research, due for publication in March 2011, will be used to inform DFID's future work with apex organisations.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department provides for graduation programmes; and what proportion such support represents of his Department's total spending on microfinance projects. [42074]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) supports microfinance institutions to become self-sufficient through its broader financial sector development programmes. For example, through its Financial Inclusion Programme in Pakistan, DFID is helping to transform donor-dependent, unregulated microfinance institutions into regulated microfinance banks and supporting their access to commercial funds through guarantees. In Iraq, DFID is supporting the International Finance Corporation's Iraq Business Assistance Facility, which supports the transition of non-profit organizations into for-profit financial intermediaries. DFID also supports initiatives that help people progress out of extreme poverty and access microfinance services. More than 90,000 households which graduated out of extreme poverty in the Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty programme in Bangladesh accessed microfinance services within one year.

Graduation initiatives are incorporated into broader financial sector development or livelihood programmes. Specific costs associated with graduation can not therefore be meaningfully disaggregated. DFID also does not hold consolidated data on expenditure on microfinance programmes as a proportion of the total overseas aid budget.

Mr Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) client protection measures and (b) monitoring of effects on poverty levels requirements his Department puts upon microfinance organisations in receipt of funding from his Department. [42105]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) rarely provides direct funding to microfinance organisations. Our work on microfinance is incorporated into broader financial sector development programmes, which have a range of interventions including policy and regulatory reform, capacity building, product innovation and research.

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Protecting the rights of poor clients is an important criteria for financial sector development programmes supported by DFID. For example, DFID's Financial Inclusion Programme in Pakistan incorporates a comprehensive strategy to safeguard client interests through capacity building for financial institutions, regulatory reform and financial education. DFID also supports the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the multi-donor think tank on microfinance housed in the World Bank, which leads on client protection issues. All financial sector development programmes must demonstrate how funding provided by DFID will contribute to poverty reduction. Progress is tracked by indicators such as income, assets, employment and enterprise growth. Programmes are reviewed annually, and on completion, to evaluate their development impact.

Mr Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures his Department uses to evaluate the effect of its support to microfinance programmes on the movement of microfinance clients out of poverty. [42106]

Mr O'Brien: Poverty alleviation is at the heart of all financial sector development programmes supported by the Department for International Development (DFID). Indicators such as income, assets, consumption, employment and business growth are used to measure the movement of microfinance clients out of poverty. All programmes are reviewed annually to track progress against these indicators, and on completion, to evaluate their development impact.

External data are also used to validate the progress or impact of financial sector development programmes on reducing poverty. For example, the DFID-supported FinMark Trust’s tracks changes in the income, savings, debt and expenditure of low-income consumers in Southern Africa in its quarterly Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index. DFID has also commissioned a systematic review of the impact of microcredit on poor people; the results of which will be used to inform our future interventions in this area.

Mr Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria his Department uses to determine which microfinance organisations receive funding from his Department. [42107]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) rarely provides direct funding support to microfinance organisations. Our work on microfinance is incorporated into broader financial sector development programmes, which have a range of interventions including policy and regulatory reform, capacity building, product innovation and research. Programmes are often implemented by intermediaries, such as non-governmental organisations, central banks, government agencies or in partnership with other donors.

All organisations must demonstrate how funding provided by DFID will be used to reduce poverty. Economic, social and institutional appraisals are conducted to assess the sustainability of the organisation and the potential development impact of their programme. For example, DFID is funding CHF, an international NGO, to provide access to finance to micro and small enterprises in Basra province, Southern Iraq. CHF was selected

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based on its track record of delivering small business finance, existing portfolio performance, robust lending practices and experience of building local capacity to manage microfinance programmes. Loans have been provided to more than 1,000 clients since May 2009, with one-third disbursed to women.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department's funding for microfinance projects is co-ordinated with other policies for the purposes of encouraging an environment for microfinance services. [42227]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID)'s support for microfinance is part of a comprehensive approach to financial sector development, which aims to provide sustainable, quality and affordable financial services to individuals, households and firms in developing countries. Programmes supported by DFID provide a range of interventions to improve policy and regulation; strengthen the capacity of financial institutions, expand the evidence base on financial inclusion and innovate new financial products that meet the needs of the poor.

For example, the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFinA) programme funded jointly by DFID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Nigeria shows how integrated financial sector development creates a strong enabling environment for sustainable microfinance services. EFinA is: (1) supporting the Central Bank to develop a new financial inclusion strategy that includes making microfinance more stable, sustainable and responsive to poor client needs; (2) spurring the development of new financial products, including micro-savings, through grants from its Innovation Fund; (3) providing targeted capacity building for financial institutions including microfinance providers; and (4) conducting research on the supply, demand and use of financial services among poor households.

Overseas Aid

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will review the allocation of funding provided by the previous Administration through his Department to UK-based non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and trade unions; and if he will disallow or claw back any funds that are identified as having been inappropriately spent. [42936]

Mr O'Brien: All projects supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) through UK based non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations and trade unions, including those supported under the previous Administration, are required to submit annual progress reports including financial reports. These are reviewed and appraised. If, through this process, DFID finds that an organisation had used DFID funds inappropriately, DFID is prepared to take necessary steps to seek reimbursement for any funds provided.

DFID has already undertaken a comprehensive review of our Building Support for Development (BSD) programme and has ceased funding of some projects.

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Pakistan: Floods

Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate he has made of the number of people affected by the 2010 floods in Pakistan who are yet to receive aid. [41470]

Mr Duncan: There are no official estimates of people who are yet to receive any aid in Pakistan following the devastating flooding in July-August 2010. The United Nations Floods Emergency Response Plan targeted 14 million people and is 64% funded. This means not all projects under the plan will reach all intended beneficiaries. The UK was the third largest contributor to the UN appeal and led efforts to lobby the international community to respond generously to the floods.

The Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) team in Pakistan closely monitors the relief and early recovery effort. When isolated communities have been identified as being in dire need of assistance, DFID has lobbied the relevant authorities to undertake more detailed needs assessments and respond as appropriate. DFID has also been an active supporter of organisations working to identify vulnerable populations and takes steps to ensure they receive appropriate aid.

Palestinians: Emigration

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of Palestinians who left the Gaza Strip in October 2010 to enter (a) Israel, (b) Egypt, (c) the West Bank and (d) other countries. [41307]

Mr Duncan: The UK Government do not hold comprehensive statistics on the movement of people into or out of Gaza. Gaza has two pedestrian crossing points: at Erez (with Israel) and at Rafah (with Egypt). The World Health Organisation (WHO) report that in October 2010 709 Palestinian patients exited Gaza at Erez for medical treatment. We do not have information on numbers of non-patients exiting through Erez, or their final destinations. The UN reports that approximately 360 people per day were able to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing between June 2010 and January 2011. We do not have information on their final destinations. WHO estimates that an average of 600 Gazan patients per month entered Egypt through Rafah for medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals, between June 2010 and January 2011.

Palestinians: Health Services

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip treated for medical conditions in Israeli hospitals since 1 January 2010. [41302]

Mr Duncan: The UK Government do not hold comprehensive statistics on Palestinian medical cases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) report that in 2010 the Palestinian Ministry of Health's Referral Abroad Department referred 2,443 people to Israeli hospitals, out of a total of 11,791 referrals. We do not have information on the number of these patients who left Gaza for their treatment.

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David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of exit permits Israel issued to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in October 2010 to enable them to receive medical treatment in (a) Israel, (b) the West Bank and (c) other countries. [41304]

Mr Duncan: The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that in October 2010 the Israeli District Liaison Office processed 976 Gazan patient applications for permits to enter Israel. Of these, 744 were approved and 709 patients actually left Gaza for treatment; decisions on 211 were delayed and 21 were denied. The difference between total approvals and total patients exiting Gaza is explained by a small number of approvals being granted late in the month, delaying transit until the following month. WHO does not hold details of where these patients were treated.

Palestinians: Overseas Aid

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding the EU provided to coexistence projects between Israelis and Palestinians in 2010; and what proportion of EU aid to Israel and the Palestinian territories in that year this represented. [41291]

Mr Duncan: According to information provided by the European External Action Service, in 2010 the EU Partnership for Peace Programme spent €10 million supporting local and international civil society initiatives to promote peace, tolerance and non-violence between Arabs and Israelis. This compares to a total of €367 million of EU aid to the occupied Palestinian territories and to Palestinian refugees in the region in 2010. The EU did not provide any official development assistance (ODA) to Israel in 2010.

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has provided to the Palestinian Facility For New Market Development since April 2008. [41294]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £3,270,000 to the Facility for New Market Development between 1 April 2008 and 21 February 2011. DFID funding has provided support to 229 small businesses in both Gaza and the west bank, helping to develop 96 new products, improve 54 products and create over 1,130 new jobs.

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to provide financial support to the Palestinian Facility for new market development in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14. [41295]

Mr Duncan: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will shortly be announcing to the House the outcome of our major root and branch review of bilateral aid which has looked in detail at each country. This review includes our support to the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Palestinians: Politics and Government

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what reports he has received on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip since July 2010; [41305]

(2) what reports he has received on the developmental situation in the Gaza Strip since 18 October 2010. [41328]

Mr Duncan: UK Ministers and officials regularly discuss the humanitarian and development situation in Gaza with the Palestinian Authority, Israel, UN agencies, other donor countries and organisations, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We remain concerned that Gaza's economy, institutions and civil society are undergoing a process described by the UN as 'de-development'.

The most comprehensive report we have received since October 2010 is "Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade", published by a number of European NGOs in November 2010. This is available at:

www.oxfam.org.uk

In addition, we regularly receive reports from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, including their monthly Humanitarian Monitor and their weekly Protection of Civilians report, available at:

www.ochaopt.org

Finally, the Portland Trust publishes a monthly bulletin on the economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, which also covers Gaza. This is available at:

www.portlandtrust.org

Third Sector

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to support the Big Society initiative. [42633]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) has participated in discussions with other Departments about the Big Society. DFID is contributing to the initiative in a variety of ways including: through the launch of the International Citizens Service; by working with civil society organisations to support individuals and communities to improve their lives; by helping to increase community engagement in service delivery and poor people's participation in decision-making; and by sharing experience from DFID's work overseas.

Togo: Debts Written Off

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much debt cancellation for Togo has contributed to UK Official Development Assistance in the latest period in which figures are available; and how much has been transferred from his Department to the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of such cancellation. [42267]

Mr O'Brien: Togo reached completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in December 2010 and received its final treatment at the Paris Club in the same month. As a result, £14.8 million will be written off and contribute to Overseas Development Assistance. Of this, the Export Credits Guarantee

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Department (ECGD) will contribute £3.5 million and the Department for International Development (DFID) the balance of £11.3 million.

UN Women Agency

Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to support the new UN Women agency; and if he will make a statement. [41466]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) strongly supports the creation of UN Women. Baroness Verma represented the UK at the official launch of UN Women on 24 February in New York, and had discussions with Michelle Bachelet, its executive director, beforehand to underline DFID's support. DFID's long-term funding commitments to UN Women will depend on a strategic plan that sets out a clear results framework outlining targets and expected impact. The strategic plan is due in June this year. In the meantime we have offered UN Women transitional funding and a secondment to allow them to set out the strongest possible plans for their work.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Counter-terrorism

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of his Department's counter-terrorism budget is allocated to Afghanistan. [41676]

Alistair Burt: Counter-terrorism (CT) is one of the Government's top priorities at home and abroad, with resources devoted by all relevant Departments. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) counter-terrorism and radicalisation programme is part of wider Government spending on counter terrorism.

Our overseas CT priorities are driven by a comprehensive analysis across Government of the threat to the UK and our interests. We are rigorous in ensuring that our CT priorities and projects reflect current analysis of the threat. This means our spending, and our intensive diplomatic efforts, are concentrated in countries and regions such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and East Africa. Given the sensitive nature of our CT activities, however, we cannot provide details of budgets allocated to activity in particular countries.

Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of his Department’s expenditure on (a) counter-narcotics and (b) rule of law programmes in Afghanistan which was allocated to (i) capital and (ii) current expenditure in each year from 2000-01 to 2011-12. [40130]

Mr Hague: This information is available only at disproportionate cost.

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BBC World Service: Finance

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the likely savings to accrue from the BBC World Service ceasing all radio broadcasting in the (a) Azeri, (b) Mandarin Chinese, (c) Russian, (d) Spanish for Cuba, (e) Turkish, (f) Vietnamese and (g) Ukrainian services. [41674]

Mr Jeremy Browne: These decisions were made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service in accordance with their managerial independence, as set out in the Broadcasting Agreement between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the BBC World Service. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office therefore does not have the figures for the likely savings from the cessation of these short-wave services.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many representations on the planned changes to BBC World Service funding have been received (a) by his Department and (b) by diplomatic posts overseas to date. [42044]

Mr Bellingham: Between 26 January and 15 February 2011, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office received 35 letters from members of the public and MPs about the proposed changes to the BBC World Service and its funding. There have also been 17 written parliamentary questions and one oral question, in addition to the urgent question in the House of Commons and the statement by Lord Howell in the House of Lords. The Foreign Affairs Committee have announced that they will be holding an enquiry into the BBC World Service in March.

There is no central note of representations received at posts overseas, and the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Burundi: Politics and Government

Eric Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on (a) the number of Burundian opposition leaders in exile and (b) their potential return to Burundi. [41669]

Mr Lidington: The UK works closely with EU and other diplomatic missions to discuss regularly the political situation in Burundi. In the context of the ongoing preparation of the 5th report of Burundi's Peace-Building Framework, the UK and EU diplomatic missions have emphasised the importance of a dialogue being established between the Government and the extra-parliamentary opposition, including those parties whose leaders have left the country. We understand that five leaders of opposition parties left Burundi after the elections.

Burundi: Reconstruction

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to support the post-conflict reconstruction process in Burundi in respect of opportunities for (a) demobilised soldiers and (b) unemployed young people. [41469]

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Mr Lidington: The UK has provided strong political and programme support to post-conflict reconstruction in Burundi since the end of the civil war in 2003. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has worked closely with the international community to support Burundi in it's return to stability. The UK's aid is currently focused on health, education, access to justice and Burundi's integration into the East African Community. We have engaged closely with the Government of Burundi and international partners in the context of discussions in the UN Security Council, the UN Peace-Building Commission and ongoing in-country dialogue to ensure that the principal hurdles to building a lasting peace are addressed, including the reintegration of demobilised soldiers and actions to improve the employment prospects of unemployed young people.

The Anglican Archbishop of Burundi recently praised the support of the British Government for their engagement.

Council of Europe

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government was represented at the inaugural meeting of high-level policy planners from member states at the Council of Europe held on 10 February 2011; and what his position is on the matters discussed. [41906]

Mr Lidington: I welcome this initiative by the Council of Europe to bring together the senior planners from Council of Europe member states for informal discussions and a sharing of ideas. The meeting was organised by the new Council of Europe directorate of policy planning to consider the political, social, economic and cultural changes taking place in Europe and their impact on the strategic mission of the Council of Europe. The Government were represented by Alison Kemp, head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office policy unit.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government’s priorities are for the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from November 2011 to May 2012; if the Government will use the chairmanship to promote reform of the Council of Europe; and if he will make a statement. [41907]

Mr Lidington: No decisions have been taken yet on UK priorities and objectives for our forthcoming chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The UK is a strong supporter of Secretary-General Jagland’s ongoing programme of reform of the organisation.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner has met (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department in the latest period for which figures are available. [41908]

Mr Lidington: The Council of Europe’s European Commissioner for Human Rights met one Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister and two senior FCO officials in 2008. The United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe exchanges views every three months with the Commissioner and

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other Permanent Representatives in the context of the Commissioner’s presentations of his quarterly reports to the Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the Government’s contributions to the Council of Europe and its related institutions in each of the next five years. [41909]

Mr Lidington: Budget negotiations for 2012 and beyond have not started. The Government are committed to ensuring budget efficiency in international institutions and will be active in the negotiations. The need to reduce public spending domestically will be reflected in our negotiating position.

Counter-terrorism

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of his Department’s programme expenditure on counter-terrorism measures in real terms in each year from 2000-01 to 2011-12. [40126]

Mr Hague: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Counter Terrorism and Radicalisation programme is part of wider Government spending on counter terrorism. Within the framework provided by Contest, it focuses on overseas interventions, including building capacity overseas to help counter the risks to the UK and UK interests from international terrorism.

The FCO’s programme expenditure on counter terrorism increased in real terms each year between 2003-04 and 2009-10, except in 2006-07, as seen in the following table. Comparisons with financial years before 2003-04 are not possible because a separate programme budget for counter terrorism did not exist until 2003-04.

The current budget of £38 million will be sustained in cash terms for 2011-12, so we are forecasting a slight real terms decrease in expenditure. This will be managed through greater efficiency and a tighter focus in the programme. The FCO is playing its part in reducing the public expenditure deficit, and is ensuring its expenditure on this priority for the UK is spent in an efficient and focused way.

£
Financial year Cash terms Real terms

2003-04

3,336,832

3,336,832

2004-05

6,990,298

6,801,224

2005-06

7,756,168

7,412,218

2006-07

7,200,000

6,657,037

2007-08

16,300,000

14,650,327

2008-09

35,200,000

30,784,777

2009-10

37,854,164

32,565,437

2010-11(1)

38,000,000

31,707,951

2011-12(1)

38,000,000

30,934,586

(1) Figures for 2010-11 and 2011-12 are forecasts, based on budgets for these financial years.

Actual expenditure on counter terrorism programmes has been converted into 2003-04 prices using the HM Treasury deflator.

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Departmental Carbon Emissions

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on carbon offsetting in each of the last three years; and to which companies payments for carbon offsetting were made in each such year. [40284]

Alistair Burt: I refer my hon. Friend to the response given by the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker) on 16 February 2011, Official Report, column 853W.

Departmental Pay

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2011, Official Report, column 156W, on departmental pay, if he will provide the information requested in respect of the London living wage. [39644]

Alistair Burt: Information relating to sub-contractor pay rates is not centrally held by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The provision of information relating to the number of sub-contractor staff who were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what regulations his Department introduced between 18 November 2010 and 8 February 2011. [42076]

Alistair Burt: Regulations are a specific type of statutory instrument. They are very rarely sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The FCO sponsored the following Orders in Council, however, which were introduced between 18 November 2010 and 8 February 2011:

The Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution (Interim Amendment) (Amendment) Order 2010 (Date Made: 15 December 2010)

The Geneva Conventions (Overseas Territories) Order 2010 (Date Made: 15 December 2010)

The Iran (United Nations Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2010 (Date Made: 15 December 2010).

Departmental Responsibilities

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who in his Department is responsible for long-term planning and strategy on Middle East policy. [41782]

Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, supported by myself as Minister for the Middle East, has overall responsibility for this area of policy, drawing on advice from officials including the political director and the director for the Middle East and North Africa.

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Developing Countries: Sexuality

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding his Department has allocated to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender programme in 2010-11; and how many people work on policy areas associated with the programme. [41819]

Mr Jeremy Browne: In 2010-11 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) contributed £35,989 to a one-year Council of Europe study on the extent of homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Council of Europe member states. This was drawn from a centrally held budget of £18.3 million from 2008 to 2011 for global projects that support and promote a broad range of human rights issues.

The FCO has one desk officer within its Human Rights and Democracy Department who leads on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as part of a broader portfolio of work. As human rights are integrated across the FCO, country specific desk officers also work on human rights issues, including those related to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as they arise. We also encourage UK missions overseas to seek out appropriate opportunities to promote human rights and prevent discrimination on any grounds, including due to sexual orientation or gender identity. Posts have discretion to use their own funds to promote these rights through hosting events, working with non-governmental organisations, or supporting local activities. We do not hold a central record of their expenditure on such activity.

Egypt: Elections

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact Ministers and officials of his Department have had with the Government of Egypt since the parliamentary elections in that country in 2010. [39910]

Mr Hague: The first round of Egyptian parliamentary elections was held on 28 November 2010 and the second round was held on 5 December 2010.

I travelled to Cairo on 4 November 2010, where I held talks with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. I also met three leading figures in the ruling National Democratic Party.

The Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), met his Egyptian counterpart in December 2010.

I met the Minister for Education, Dr Ahmed Zaki Badr, as did the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), at an Education World Forum reception at Lancaster House on the evening of 10 January 2011.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to President Mubarak by telephone on 29 January 2011, Prime Minister Shafiq on 1 February and Vice President Suleiman on 7 February 2011. On 15 February 2011, he spoke to Egypt’s interim leader Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.

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I spoke to the Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit by telephone on 30 January 2011, 6 February 2011 and again on 13 February 2011. I also spoke to Prime Minister Shafiq on 13 February 2011.

The Minister responsible for the Middle East and North Africa, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), spoke to the Egyptian ambassador on 13 December 2010 and has been in regular contact with the Egyptian ambassador throughout the period of unrest in Egypt.

Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and our Embassy in Cairo have met or spoken to Egyptian officials on a frequent basis as part of our normal working relationships.

In our dealings with the Government of Egypt, Ministers and officials consistently raised concerns about human rights and governance issues and urged the Egyptian Government to lift the state of emergency. Following the November 2010 election, we raised concerns about allegations of vote-rigging and fraud at official and ministerial level in both London and Cairo.

Egypt: Exports

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the recent use by the Government of Egypt of military list equipment sold to it by UK companies; and if he will make a statement. [39338]

Alistair Burt: We are not aware of any UK supplied military equipment being used in the recent unrest. However, as with all conflict situations, as a precautionary measure the Government are urgently reviewing all existing applications and those export licences which have already been issued. With immediate effect we revoked three licences, on the basis that they were no longer in line with the criteria. We are in the process of making further assessments.

We are closely monitoring developments, and will take into account the prevailing circumstances when considering export licence applications. All cases are rigorously assessed case-by-case under the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria which, inter alia, make clear we will not issue licences which will aggravate existing tensions or conflicts in the country of destination, or if there is a clear risk that the export will be used for internal repression.

Egypt: Israel

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent change of government in Egypt on the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement; and if he will make a statement. [R] [41792]

Alistair Burt: Egypt has played an important role in the Middle East peace process and its peace agreement with Israel is vital to regional stability. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, there is now a precious moment of opportunity for the people of Egypt to achieve a stable and democratic future. Field Marshal Tantawi has publicly committed to maintain good relations with Israel and we welcome the statement

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by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on 12 February 2011 that Egypt would abide by all its regional and international treaty obligations.

Egypt: Politics and Government

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government has prepared a policy to deal with any assumption of power by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. [41383]

Alistair Burt: We have been clear that the political process in Egypt must be broad-based and include opposition figures to produce real political change. The Muslim Brotherhood is one part of the mosaic of political voices in Egypt and our embassy in Cairo has previously had contact with its members in their positions as elected representatives in the Egyptian parliament. We will continue to have contacts with those members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are, or who are likely to be, part of the political dialogue process in Egypt and who have agreed to operate within that process.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood has been consistent in its statements that it does not seek power and will not be putting up a presidential candidate in the elections.

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the likely effect on Egypt-Israel relations of the efforts by the Government of Egypt to open dialogue with (a) the Muslim Brotherhood and (b) other opposition groups. [41634]

Alistair Burt: Egypt is an influential country in the middle east and has played an important role in the Middle East Peace Process as one of only two countries to have a peace agreement with Israel. We hope that Egypt will continue to play a constructive role in the region and maintain good relations with both its neighbours and the wider international community, including the UK. Field Marshal Tantawi has committed to maintain good relations with Israel and we welcome the statement by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on 12 February 2011 that Egypt would abide by all its regional and international treaty obligations. This is a positive sign of Egypt's continued commitment to peace with Israel.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear, we continue to press the Egyptian Government to give opposition groups a real role in the reform process, through a genuinely broad-based dialogue. The Egyptian Government have begun that dialogue and, as part of it, have met the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and other opposition groups who are an important part of Egypt's national political mosaic.

Embassies

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the merits of appointing honorary consuls in capitals where there is no UK diplomatic representation. [41423]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We make decisions on where to appoint honorary consuls on the basis of our priority of providing high quality consular support to British

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nationals. In the first instance we consider factors such as the number of British nationals in the area, or the possibility of a crisis affecting British nationals there. This could lead to the appointment of an honorary consul in a capital without diplomatic representation. Our consular regional directors are in the process of reviewing our honorary consul network, to ensure we have honorary consuls in the right places.

European Union Bill

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the administrative costs to his Department of preparing the European Union Bill. [40123]

Mr Hague: The estimated administrative cost to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of preparing the European Union Bill is £195,000. This figure comprises the estimated staff costs and administrative costs incurred by those officials engaged full-time to prepare the Bill for publication, and the costs charged to the FCO by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for the same purpose.

Both the assembly of a team of officials and the use of the services of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, for which a charge is made, are standard practice for Whitehall Departments preparing a Bill. However, no additional Government staff have been employed to develop the EU Bill, so there has been no increase in Government spending overall as a result of its development.

Human Rights

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's budget for human rights training and associated programmes will be in each year of the Comprehensive Spending Review period. [41645]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 17 February 2011]: As announced in the written ministerial statement of 1 February 2011, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will spend £5 million on a human rights and democracy programme in 2011-12. This programme is dedicated specifically to supporting human rights projects. However there are a number of other FCO programmes that contribute to the achievement of our human rights objectives. These include: a new fund of £5 million to address the underlying governance and social, economic and political participation issues affecting the Arab world; a £7 million programme in the Overseas Territories; £3.5 million to support the work of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy; £17 million for scholarships; and £19 million for bilateral programmes.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will provide details of programme spending for future years in due course together with further information about how the FCO will ensure that these funds provide the best possible value for the public money.

Separate to programme budgets, the FCO provides in-depth training to its staff on human rights to ensure they are able to deliver our human rights objectives. In 2011-12 £68,000 has been allocated for this training and is reviewed on an annual basis.

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India: Intelligence Services

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to establish intelligence exchange with officials in the Indian Government. [41748]

Alistair Burt: It is the long-standing policy of the Government not to comment on matters relating to intelligence or national security.

Indonesia: Religious Freedom

Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government is taking to support (a) inter-faith dialogue and (b) the efforts of Muslim civil society organisations to counter extremism and to promote pluralism in Indonesia. [41992]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We have worked closely with the Indonesian Government and civil society organisations in recent years to support inter-faith dialogue in Indonesia. We have strong links to Muhammadiya and Nahdlatul Ulama, two of the largest independent Islamic organisations in the world, who are working to counter extremism and promote pluralism. We have funded research into religious tolerance trends in the country and are currently supporting community radio stations who are working to give a voice to the mainstream moderate majority and disseminate values of tolerance and respect for fundamental freedoms. We are also supporting efforts to counter extremism in schools across Java.

We, along with our EU partners, will continue to call for religious tolerance across Indonesia and press the authorities to ensure the rights of all religious minorities.

Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government is taking to raise the recent violent attacks on Ahmadiyyas and Christians in Indonesia with the Indonesian authorities; and if he will urge the Indonesian Government to ensure protection for religious minorities, to promote Indonesia’s tradition of pluralism and religious freedom, and to prosecute the perpetrators of violence against minorities. [41994]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We regularly raise human rights issues, including freedom of religion, with the Government of Indonesia both bilaterally and through the EU. On 11 February 2011 our chargé d’affaires raised the recent attacks against the Ahmadiyya community and Christian churches in Central Java, with senior officials at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We stressed the need for a full investigation into the events and the importance of ensuring that those responsible be held to account.

The EU issued a statement on 8 February 2011 which echoed the concerns expressed elsewhere, including by the Indonesian President, and emphasised the need for an effective response.

We, along with our EU partners, will continue to call for religious tolerance across Indonesia and press the authorities to ensure the rights of all religious minorities.

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Middle East: Armed Conflict

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the monetary value and number of EU-funded projects demolished by Israeli Defence Forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the last three years. [39862]

Alistair Burt: We do not have figures on the value and number of EU-funded projects demolished by the Israeli Defence Forces during this period.

Middle East: International Assistance

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding his Department provided to coexistence projects between Israelis and Palestinians in 2010; and what proportion of UK aid to Israel and the Palestinian territories in that year this represented. [41290]

Alistair Burt: I refer the hon. Member to the response from my noble Friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire to the noble Lord Janner of Braunstone on 7 February 2011, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA26.

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding the EU provided to aid and promote joint business initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians in 2010; and what proportion of EU aid to Israel and the Palestinian territories in that year this represented. [41292]

Alistair Burt: I refer the hon. Member to the response from my noble Friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire to the noble Lord Janner of Braunstone on 7 February 2011, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA27.

Nigeria: Fraud

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of money scams emanating from Nigeria. [41749]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has taken proactive steps via information on its website to alert British nationals about the dangers of internet fraud, money and romance scams which originate in west Africa. The Serious Crime Agency (SOCA) is engaged with partners across the region to target mass marketing fraud which impacts on the United Kingdom.

North Korea: South Korea

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) US and (b) South Korean counterparts on the response to attacks by North Korea on South Korea. [41750]

Mr Jeremy Browne: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea following the attacks last year. We work closely with South Korea, both in the UN and in Seoul. We also regularly discuss North Korea with US

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Government representatives in Washington and Seoul. We have made clear our strong support for a process which involves building trust and confidence between North and South Korea. We continue to monitor the situation closely.

Occupied Territories: Housing

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Israel on the building of illegal settlements. [42225]

Alistair Burt: Our view is that all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal and an obstacle to peace. It also threatens to make a two state solution impossible in the future. While visiting the region in January, I saw the impact of the occupation, including settlements, on Palestinian people.

We understand the depth of Israeli security concerns. But, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has consistently stressed, in public and in private, we are very disappointed that Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction. The Foreign Secretary discussed these issues most recently with Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman on 24 January 2011 in London.

We continue to call on the Government of Israel to take all necessary steps to prevent settlement construction.

Pakistan: Deaths

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on the death of Salmaan Taseer. [41751]

Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made a statement of condemnation following the death of Governor Taseer. The Foreign Secretary has also written to President Zardari to express his condolences. I spoke to the Pakistan Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, on 10 January 2011 to express the UK’s support for a democratic Pakistan, and of the importance of ensuring that the rights and freedoms of all Pakistanis are upheld, a position I reiterated to the Pakistan high commissioner on 31 January 2011. My noble Friend Baroness Warsi also made these points to the speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly when they met on 17 January 2011.

Pakistan: Politics and Government

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage greater political stability in Pakistan following the death of Salman Taseer. [41437]

Alistair Burt: The murder of Governor Taseer was a shocking event. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made a statement condemning the act, and has written to President Zardari to express his condolences. Since Mr Taseer’s death I have spoken to the Pakistan Minister for Minorities to highlight our concerns about the potential for the misuse of the blasphemy laws to undermine religious tolerance in Pakistan. Baroness Warsi also raised this with the Speaker of the National Assembly on 17 January.

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Pakistan is one of the UK's highest priorities. We are working with the Government of Pakistan to strengthen and deepen our relationship through an enhanced strategic dialogue which was announced by the Prime Minister and President Zardari on 6 August 2010. The Department for International Development has a £665 million four-year development assistance programme, which includes support for education, economic growth and governance.

Ministers and senior officials engage regularly at a senior level with Pakistani interlocutors from all parties to highlight the importance of democratic and economic stability for Pakistan, including through the development of a national consensus on economic reform.

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) technical and (b) military assistance his Department is providing to the Government of Pakistan. [41440]

Alistair Burt: Pakistan is one of the UK's highest priorities. We are working with the Government of Pakistan to strengthen and deepen our relationship through an enhanced strategic dialogue, which was announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and President Zardari on 6 August 2010.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, draws on the tri-departmental Conflict Fund and Bilateral Programme Fund to provide assistance focusing on promoting human rights, institution-building and capacity building. Under the Counter Terrorism and Radicalisation Fund, the FCO is working with the Government of Pakistan and their agencies at both federal and provincial levels to provide support and technical assistance that enables us to jointly tackle the threat from terrorism.