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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The European Union already provides generous access to those African countries which are members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, under the Lome Convention. The EU is currently looking at ways to improve preferential access for least developed countries, most of which are in Africa. The EU is also looking at ways to improve and simplify the rules of origin in order to allow developing countries to make better use of preferential access.
The Government believe that relief should be granted as quickly as possible to the poorest countries which are heavily burdened with debt, once they have demonstrated their commitment to significant economic reform.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: New commitments in 1995-96 and 1996-97 of development aid for policing are listed below. They include commitments of £100,000 or more; smaller commitments are not recorded centrally. The objectives of the projects that were approved include the strengthening of strategic planning, management and training capacity, the reorientation of police services to community policing, equality of opportunity, the development of anti-drugs, fraud and corruption programmes, and strengthening of communications and record keeping.
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(1) Anti drugs enforcement in east Asia.
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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Department of Trade and Industry is represented on a White Paper steering group comprising officials from the Department for International Development and other Whitehall Departments. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development is also consulting the President of the Board of Trade and other ministerial colleagues on the contribution of their departments to the paper.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Department for International Development is currently carrying out a fundamental rethink of its communications strategy. This will include a scrutiny of the means used to raise public awareness of international development issues as well as the department's public affairs function. The term "development education" is widely regarded as inadequate to describe the process by which people's awareness of and engagement in development issues is increased. We will be looking to strengthen our capacity for involving adults as well as educating school students and other young people.
The Lord Advocate (Lord Hardie): It would not be appropriate to place such a list in the Library, but lists of the documents which were taken into possession on behalf of the Procurator Fiscal will be made available to the club at its request.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: At a time when all departments are undertaking comprehensive spending reviews and are subject to tight expenditure controls, my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was unwilling to embark on a major construction project of this scale, which would have involved substantial expenditure and significant financial risks for the other government occupants of the building in terms of the disposal of property elsewhere. The plans to refurbish the main Treasury building under the Private Finance Initiative represented good value for money in their own terms, but Ministers judged they had to have regard to wider considerations.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No. In line with normal practice, the Government will not publish the regulators' advice to Ministers. This was confidential and contained some observations that are commercially confidential. Similar considerations apply to other written material.
I have been asked to reply as Director of the Office for National Statistics to your recent question on what, in percentage terms, the gaming industry in the United Kingdom (including bingo, betting shops and gaming machine arcades, but excluding the National Lottery) contributes to the United Kingdom's GDP.
The most recent assessment of the contribution of the gambling industry to GDP is that which shows its contribution to Consumers' Expenditure. At current market prices, including the National Lottery, Consumers' Expenditure in 1996 on betting and gaming (£6.4 billion) comprised 0.9 per cent of GDP (£742.3 billion).
Estimates of Consumers' Expenditure on betting and gaming excluding the National Lottery are not published separately. However, information on National Lottery ticket sales and prizes awarded is available from OFLOT, the regulatory body.
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