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26 Jun 2008 : Column WA263



26 Jun 2008 : Column WA263

Written Answers

Thursday 26 June 2008

Burma: Cyclone Nargis

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: On 3 June, the International Development Secretary announced an additional £10.5 million for the humanitarian response to Cyclone Nargis. This brings the UK's overall support to £27.5 million, the largest contribution from any single country so far. This is additional to the UK's long-term humanitarian programme in Burma on which we plan to spend £12 million this year, rising to £18 million in 2010-11.

As part of its contribution to the humanitarian relief effort, DfID has provided £5 million in logistical and relief supplies, including emergency water containers, shelter materials for 30,000 families, and 14 flat-bottomed boats and engines designed to make bulk distributions of relief items in the inland waters of the Irrawaddy delta. The boats have been given to Save the Children Fund. All DfID-donated shelter materials have been distributed through UN and NGOs on the ground.

The Department for International Development (DfID) does not channel any funds through the Government of Burma. DfID's aid is provided through the UN, NGOs and the Red Cross. We have confidence in the stringent monitoring mechanisms these partners have in place to ensure that DfID's aid reaches its intended recipients.

Care Services: Children

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Information on the number of looked-after children during the past six years who had more than five or 10 placement moves, has been placed in the House of Lords Library.

Improving placement stability for looked-after children is a high priority for the Government, as reflected in their public service agreement targets and the national indicator set for local government. The Care Matters

26 Jun 2008 : Column WA264

White Paper and the Children and Young Person's Bill include a range of measures which will help to improve placement stability, including revised arrangements for care planning, strengthening the role of independent reviewing officers to ensure placement moves are given greater scrutiny, and ensuring children are placed closer to their homes and schools.

Short-term placements refer to children who are looked after under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, who are subject to an agreement between children's services and the child's parents or guardians, whereby the children normally live at home but are accommodated by a local authority in a pattern of short periods of care in order to give their parents (or guardians) some “respite” from the normal duties of looking after a child. A typical example would be a physically disabled child, who normally lives at home with his/her parents, but who is accommodated by a local authority every weekend. While these children are legally “looked after” during the course of their short breaks, their situation differs significantly from that of other looked after children. Consequently, these children are generally excluded from our published data.

Census

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, Director of Macroeconomics and National Accounts, to Lord Laird, dated June 2008.

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Question asking whether respondents to the next census can specify Ulster Scots as their racial background and language. I am replying in her absence. (HL4115)

The proposed 2011 census ethnic group question in England and Wales includes a “write-in” option within each of the main ethnic groupings, which would provide the opportunity for people to describe their ethnic background in whatever way they wish. We are not planning a specific “tick box” for Ulster Scots.

The language question is currently being tested. The current form of the question includes a write-in option for respondents to describe their main language in whatever way they wish.

However, it is not possible to confirm what the 2011 census questions and response categories will be until the consultation and testing programme is complete and formal approval of the census is given by Parliament in 2010. A White Paper setting out the UK Statistics Authority proposals, including the wording of any questions about ethnicity, is scheduled to be published in autumn 2008.

Inquiries about the use of Ulster Scots in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the census is a devolved matter, should be addressed to the respective registrars general.



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Crime: Muslims

Lord Sheikh asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Ministry of Justice has not conducted or commissioned research into factors affecting criminality among individuals belonging to specific faith groups, including Muslims.

The National Offender Management Service's policies on rehabilitation and interventions to reduce criminality apply to offenders irrespective of their religion.

Health: Blood Tests

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): This information is not collected centrally.

Health: X-rays

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): This information is not collected centrally.

Iraq: Refugees

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: We are very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq and among Iraqi refugees in the wider region. That is why DfID has committed over £149 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq since 2003, £17 million of which has been allocated

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this year. We have channelled our assistance to a variety of international organisations working to provide assistance to the most vulnerable people displaced inside Iraq and in the region.

However, it will require an Iraqi-led solution to tackle this problem fully. The Government of Iraq (GoI) have recognised that they hold primary responsibility for the welfare of their people and are working to address the humanitarian situation inside the country. For example, the GoI this week allocated $40 million to the World Food Programme, to assist in the provision of food for internally displaced people.

It is also necessary to recognise the considerable hospitality which Syria and other countries in the region have shown by accommodating large numbers of people fleeing the violence in Iraq. However, this hospitality cannot be expected to last indefinitely. The UK Government continue to encourage the GoI to take a lead in providing financial support to their own people in the region. We are seeing some progress being made. The GoI have transferred $25 million to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to support the Iraqis who are currently living there, and have allocated $195 million to support voluntary returnees.

The longer term solution to the problem hinges on the security situation improving in Iraq. Currently, refugees who have been interviewed in the region have said they do not wish to return to Iraq because they believe it is unsafe to do so. The UNHCR, which leads on refugee issues, has also made it clear that the situation in Iraq does not currently warrant mass refugee return. Therefore, security must be the Iraqi Government's top priority, to allow displaced people to feel safe enough to return home.

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: International donors have already contributed $134 million to the UNHCR's 2008 Iraq appeal, which is primarily designed to address the needs of Iraqi refugees in the region. The UNHCR has now asked for a further $127 million, in order to meet its 2008 Iraq appeal target of $261 million.

DfID has already contributed a total of £17 million for humanitarian assistance to Iraq this year, including £3 million to the UNHCR appeal—making the UK its fourth largest donor. We have also committed: £7 million to the International Committee for the Red Cross; £5 million to the UN Consolidated Appeal for Iraq; and £2 million to the World Food Programme (WFP). Since 2003, the UK has committed over £149 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq.

It is important to note that the UNHCR Iraq appeal was only announced in January of this year, and we can still expect some international donors who have not yet pledged funds to do so in the coming months.



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Israel: Human Rights

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The EU-Israel Working Group on Human Rights, like all other working groups, is conducted in confidence to enable a frank discussion of the issues. A public record is not released. The session on 30 April provided a valuable forum for discussion in which a wide range of human rights issues were raised.



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Lebanon and Palestine: Financial Assistance

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: Comparable data on assistance to Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) provided by the UK, European Commission (EC) and the 15 members of the European Union (EU-15) at that time are only available on a calendar-year basis. Details on the level of official development assistance (ODA) provided by the UK, the EC and the EU-15 are in the table below. EC and EU-15 data are only available up to 2006.

Table 1: Official Development Assistance to Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza and UNRWA, 1991-06, £ millions
LebanonWest Bank and GazaUNRWA
UKEuropean CommissionEU-15 (incl. UK)UKEuropean CommissionEU-15 (incl. UK)UKEuropean CommissionEU-15 (incl. UK)

1991*

0.1

3.9

17.1

1.1

-

-

5.9

21.4

38.1

1992*

0.3

3.5

25.8

1.2

-

-

8.8

31.1

44.2

1993

0.3

6.8

31.0

1.7

37.6

11.1

6.0

23.8

38.2

1994

0.3

9.0

31.4

6.3

58.2

39.8

6.0

8.4

40.7

1995

0.2

12.0

31.4

4.3

47.8

79.2

6.7

5.9

38.7

1996

0.5

8.9

48.5

3.5

84.6

105.0

7.6

-

47.1

1997

0.3

13.3

38.5

6.2

71.5

94.5

7.3

-

37.2

1998

0.1

40.2

40.3

5.3

49.2

100.3

8.3

-

39.5

1999

0.2

9.9

35.5

6.6

9.0

92.9

8.5

-

40.5

2000

0.6

23.8

35.1

9.7

41.3

98.5

18.2

24.4

58.5

2001

0.2

6.3

30.1

11.8

82.3

89.7

25.7

33.9

67.2

2002

0.1

14.7

32.5

15.8

113.9

124.7

21.9

39.8

66.4

2003

0.2

33.2

40.7

19.1

110.9

130.5

21.4

49.0

66.6

2004

0.2

37.4

44.1

16.1

101.9

125.2

22.2

41.9

68.1

2005

0.3

24.0

42.5

12.9

113.7

148.1

13.8

48.6

53.2

2006

3.8

114.9

121.4

19.1

140.2

178.0

16.6

62.2

62.9

Total

7.1

361.8

645.9

140.7

1062.1

1417.5

204.9

309.4

807.1

*International data for the West Bank and Gaza are not available prior to 1993

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