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10 Nov 2003 : Column WA153

Written Answers

Monday, 10th November 2003.

Cross-Border Implementation Bodies: Provision of Cars for Chief Executives

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 13 October (WA 93), why a car was provided for the chief executive of the Special European Union Programmes Body. [HL4848]

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The provision of a leased car was part of the remuneration package agreed with the prospective chief executive of the Special European Programmes Body before his appointment to the post.

Northern Ireland Compensation Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 14 October (WA 104) on promoting understanding among all sections of the community, whether they have a policy to reduce the need for payments from the Northern Ireland Compensation Agency. [HL4882]

Baroness Amos: There is no government policy focused specifically on reducing the need for payments under the compensation schemes. However, I would refer the noble Lord to my previous Written Answer, which explained that the implementation of a range of government policies should have the cumulative effect of reducing the need for payments under these schemes.

Northern Ireland: Police Recruitment

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Given that Roman Catholics made up 8.0 per cent of the Royal Ulster Constabulary whereas women made up 12.6 per cent, why reverse religious discrimination is justified regarding the police in Northern Ireland, while reverse female discrimination is not. [HL4885]

Baroness Amos: The basis for the Government's policy on this is set out in the report of the Independent Commission on Policing.

Section 48(2) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 allows the Policing Board to require the Chief Constable to prepare a draft plan for the monitoring of women in the police and, if they are under-represented, for increasing that number.

Of the 930 trainees recruited to PSNI since November 2001, 318 were women.

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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have seen the legal advice referred to in paragraph 15.11 of the Patten report on policing; who has possession of the advice (if they have not seen it); and whether they will seek to have it published.[HL4886]

Baroness Amos: The legal opinion referred to in paragraph 15.11 of its report was obtained by the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland as part of its deliberations about recruitment to the Police Service. The advice was not obtained on behalf of the Government; there are no plans to publish it. However, as part of the implementation of the Patten recommendations, the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 included provisions to ensure that the 50:50 recruitment procedures would not be in breach of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 or the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In each of the six most recent competitions for recruitment to the police in Northern Ireland, how many recruits were sought initially; and how many were recruited.[HL4887]

Baroness Amos: The PSNI workforce strategy, as approved by the Policing Board on 3 October 2002, sets out the aim to appoint 540 trainees each year. It does not stipulate a breakdown of targets for individual competitions.

The first intake of PSNI recruits appointed on a 50:50 basis was on 4 November 2001. To date competitions one to four have produced a total 1,196 appointable candidates. The final appointments from this number are presently being made.

Appointments from competitions five and six will begin next year. Application numbers have been very encouraging.

Iraq: Madrid Conference

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the Madrid Donors' Conference on Iraq.[HL5284]

Baroness Amos: The Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn, represented the United Kingdom at the Donors' Conference on Iraq held in Madrid on 23 and 24 October. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and my noble friend Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean also attended.

The conference was opened by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. A total of 73 countries attended, with 20 international organisations and 13 non-governmental organisations. The Iraqi Governing Council was represented by its President, Dr Ayad Allawi, and a number of other members. Iraqi Ministers also participated. The conference was characterised by a strong and visible Iraqi presence, as

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well as by a sense of the international community coming together to focus on how it can help Iraqis to secure a stable and prosperous future.

Over 33 billion US dollars in grants and concessional loans was pledged towards Iraq's reconstruction for the period 2004 to 2007, significantly exceeding expectations. Twenty billion dollars was pledged by the USA, 5 billion dollars by Japan, 3 billion to 5 billion dollars by the World Bank, 2.5 billion dollars by the IMF, and the rest by other bilateral donors, mainly from European and Arab countries. Additional pledges were made by way of export credits and assistance in kind.

In addition to the finance committed at Madrid, Iraq's investment needs are expected to be met increasingly by oil revenues, foreign direct investment and commercial lending once Iraq's debts have been rescheduled through the Paris Club. Another donor meeting could be called in the future if necessary.

As set out in a statement made in another place by Hilary Benn on 14 October, DfID pledged £296 million over the next two years on behalf of the United Kingdom, bringing the total commitment in Iraq since April 2003 to £544 million. This commitment will not result in any reduction in DfID's planned development expenditure for low-income countries, or affect our commitment of £1 billion for Africa by 2005–06. Nor will it result in any reductions to existing programme commitments in the current financial year.

The conference chair's conclusions can be found on the conference website:–ing.htm. Hilary Benn's speech to the conference is on DfID's website:

International Development Funding

Lord Radice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What their spending plans are in low and middle income countries. [HL5403]

Baroness Amos: My right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, has previously indicated that changes would be made to planned future programme allocations for middle-income countries over the next two years. This results from decisions taken on financing for Iraq and the Government's commitment to increase the proportion of our direct assistance going to the poorest countries.

As reported in the Department for International Development's 2003 annual report, we are planning to increase significantly total bilateral allocations for DfID's country and regional programmes over the next two years from this year's estimated total of £1.429 billion to £1.762 billion in 2004–05 and £2.078 billion in 2005–06. This includes meeting the Prime Minister's commitment to increase our spending for Africa to £1 billion annually by 2005–06; and increasing our spending in Asia by some 45 per cent to nearly £800 million by the same year. Overall, the UK's aid budget will grow to nearly £4.6 billion by 2005–06, an average annual increase over the 2002 spending review period of 8.1 per cent in real terms.

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The UK's level of official development assistance is set to reach 0.4 per cent of national income by 2005–06—a 93 per cent increase in real terms since 1997. This is evidence of this Government's continued commitment to make progress towards meeting the UN target of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.7 per cent.

As set out in the 2003 departmental report, responding to changes in circumstances is an integral part of DfID's work, and financial allocations for future years are subject to change. We had already planned to reduce the overall allocation to middle-income countries in order to allow an increase in spending on the poorest countries.

Over the next two years, funding for the reconstruction of Iraq includes £50 million reallocated from planned programmes, together with DfID contingency funding of £115 million and contributions from other government departments. Our public service agreement includes the commitment to increase the share of our bilateral programme going to low income countries to 90 per cent by 2005–06. As a consequence of the temporary increase in funding for Iraq, which we expect to return to middle-income status soon, we will also need to move a further estimated £50 million from middle-income country programmes to low-income country programmes. This is in line with our commitment to the 90 per cent target.

The total effect of these changes will be a reduction in planned bilateral spending in middle-income countries in 2004–05 and 2005–06 of around £100 million. Funding for programmes in middle-income countries during the current financial year will not be affected. Our budget for humanitarian activities will remain as planned.

We will continue to provide substantial support to middle-income countries through our contributions to multilateral institutions. In 2001–02 this amounted to some £600 million, of which some £350 million was for middle-income developing countries. The rest was for middle-income countries in transition.

These changes in planned bilateral allocations will involve withdrawal from programmes, earlier than we had previously decided, from a number of middle-income countries, which are less dependent on UK bilateral aid. Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Egypt are in this category. Our planned programme in Jordan will be re-phased. Our current programmes in Anguilla and TCI will now close in 2004–05, a year earlier than originally planned.

We will be continuing with our bilateral programmes, with some reduction in spending levels and in some cases an adjustment of focus, in the following countries/regions: South Africa, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Jamaica, Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and the Caribbean. Our small programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will close by 2005–06, as will the small programmes in Peru and Honduras. We will be developing a new approach to regional involvement in Latin America. Our programmes in the Palestinian Authority, Montserrat

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and St Helena will remain unaffected; and we will retain a programme in Nicaragua.

The Secretary of State for International Development also proposes to increase, from 2005–06, our partnership funding for NGOs, including those working with middle-income countries and Latin America.

DfID officials are in touch with all of the countries affected by these changes in plans. We are also talking to the multilateral agencies and some other bilateral donors about the scope for increasing our co-operation with them. This will be reflected in the new middle-income country strategy that the department is preparing in consultation with other departments in Whitehall. My right honourable friend will report further to the House of Commons on the impact on individual country programmes once these discussions are complete.

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