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Written Answers

Wednesday, 12 October 2005.

Linseed Oil

Lord Christopher asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Food for human consumption is generally VAT zero-rated. Linseed oil is not considered to be food for human consumption and is always VAT standard-rated regardless of its Omega-3 content.

Lord Birt

Baroness Wilcox asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: It is for the appointing Minister in consultation with the department, as appropriate, to assess an individual adviser's performance.

Papua New Guinea

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): Britain has not provided direct assistance to Papua New Guinea in the past 10 years. We have no plans to open a programme there.

DfID does provide indirect support through contributions to the European Commission development programme, which disburses some £6 million per year, and to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations.

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development does not maintain a programme in Papua New Guinea and has not made representations to the European Union, or other donors, for increased assistance.

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The United Nations Development Programme made an assessment of Papua New Guinea's progress to the millennium development goals in 2004. A summary of the assessment is in the table below.
GoalLikelihood of meeting the goal
Goal 1: Extreme povertyVery unlikely
Goal 2: Primary educationVery unlikely
Goal 3: Gender equityVery unlikely
Goal 4: Child mortalityVery unlikely
Goal 5: Maternal mortalityVery unlikely
Goal 6: HIV/AIDSVery unlikely
Goal 7: Environmental sustainabilityVery unlikely




Source: Papua New Guinea: Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2004 by United Nations Development Programme. The full report can be obtained from www.undp.org.pg/mdg.html.









Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development is not providing any direct financial support to HIV and AIDS programmes in Papua New Guinea (PNG). DfID is, however, providing technical advice to the government of Australia for the development of their HIV and AIDS strategy in PNG. The global fund for HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, to which DfID is a major contributor, is providing US$15 million to combat HIV and AIDS in PNG.

Rent Restructuring

Lord Whitty asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Baroness Andrews): The policy of rent restructuring is based upon detailed analysis of the financial implications for tenants and landlords, including the payment of housing benefit. The purpose of the policy is to bring a standard approach to the calculation of social rents, so that similar properties in the same area attract similar rents within the social rented sector regardless of landlord.

Key workers are targeted separately by their own housing scheme, key worker living, which provides equity loans, shared ownership and intermediate rented units to help recruit and retain key workers in London, the east and south east of England. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is currently undertaking an evaluation of the impact of the key worker living programme.

Evictions for the non-payment of rent are a matter for the landlord. In the past councils have been keen to find alternative solutions, and ODPM guidance has recently reaffirmed that eviction should be the very last resort. Housing benefit is available to help all those who are entitled whether or not they are in work.

We estimate that 60 per cent. of social rents are covered by HB. We do not expect this to change significantly as a result of the relatively small changes introduced by rent restructuring. As some rents increase in real terms, others will fall.

Tenants will not be required to move to alternative social housing. We are not aware of any evidence which suggests that rents are the sole factor for tenants choosing to move. One of the objectives for rent restructuring is greater transparency to support the greater choice afforded by choice-based letting. So if tenants do decide to move home, perhaps to a smaller
 
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property, they will find rent pricing structures more transparent in future across the social rented sector.

Rupert Murdoch

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend, the Prime Minister has meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a wide, range of subjects. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

Trident Replacement

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): No decisions have yet been taken on any replacement for Trident. Information obviously needs to be gathered from a variety of sources to support these future decisions, but it is not our general practice to comment on the detail of any such discussions with other governments and industry.



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