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Department for International Development: Fair Trade Products

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: The amounts spent on hospitality for meetings for the last three years are as follows:

2005-06: £190,826;2006-07: £189,332; and 2007-08: £177,425.

Due to various changes in our catering service providers, we are unable to provide information for the earlier two years without incurring disproportionate cost.

Precise figures for the proportion of the spend which was fair trade are not available, but based on value it is estimated that it represents around 35 per cent. All tea and coffee served at meetings is fair trade.

Health: HIV/AIDS

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Crawley: The UK Government's updated seven-year AIDS strategy, Achieving Universal Access—the UK's strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world, continues to give priority to the needs and rights of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Social protection programmes, including cash transfers, have been shown to be highly effective in reaching children affected by AIDS and promoting their access to basic services. This approach was endorsed at the recent International AIDS Conference in Mexico.

Through support for broadly defined social protection programmes, the Government are also tackling the wider issues that make children affected by AIDS vulnerable to exploitation and abuse or at risk of ending up on the street. Predictable, regular cash transfers to households looking after children affected by AIDS are part of this response and can be a simple and cost-effective way to ensure children stay in a family environment and get the protection, nutrition, education and health care they need.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has been working closely with UN agencies and NGOs to develop guidance on social protection for vulnerable children in the context of HIV and AIDS. This guidance recognises that many children, such as street children, may live outside the family environment and therefore also require appropriate legislation and child protection services to detect neglect, exploitation and abuse and where possible support family reunification. Our increased funding for social protection, including support for underfunded social welfare ministries, will help strengthen these services.

In addition, we are supporting the International Harm Reduction Association's (IHRA) international youth network on harm reduction, to help ensure issues related to street children, young people and drug use are highlighted in international fora.

The UK Government are committed to review the social protection programmes they support, in terms of how well they respond to the needs of children affected by HIV and AIDS, on a biannual basis, to ensure that the approach is effective in reaching the most vulnerable, including those children living outside the family environment.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: “Orphans and vulnerable children” (OVC), and “children affected by AIDS” (CABA) are accepted and internationally recognised terms that encompass all aspects of vulnerability to and from AIDS, and includes street children.

Many national plans of action are already prioritising street children. For example, in Zimbabwe, DfID's programme of support is going to reach organisations

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such as Streets Ahead who are providing health, educational and psychosocial support for vulnerable children and children living on the street.

The UK Government are the second largest donor to UNICEF and provided £105 million to support the work of the organisation in 2006. This encompasses action in 13 African countries where UNICEF is actively supporting national plans for orphans and vulnerable children. These plans will ensure vulnerable children, including street children, access basic services and are protected from abuse. UNICEF also supports direct help for street children affected by AIDS. For example in Haiti, UNICEF advocates for and supports a package of services to 1,500 street children in Port-au-Prince including medical care, counselling, prevention, treatment and vocational training services.

A copy of the updated strategy Achieving Universal Access—the UK's strategy for halting and reversing the spread of HIV in the developing world and the supporting evidence paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. These are also available on the DfID website at

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: The UK Government support comprehensive education and HIV and AIDS strategies within national plans. These include prevention programmes that target in and out-of-school children, including street children.

The updated AIDS strategy recognises the importance of non-school-based prevention programmes for out-of-school children, and encourages Governments to work with civil society organisations to reach the most excluded out-of-school children, including street children.

The Department for International Development's (DfID) bilateral programmes aim to serve street children and other out-of-school children to benefit from service provision and information.

In Kyrgyzstan, for example, DfID supports prevention and rehabilitation services for street children. The programme works with street children on issues including personal health, awareness of protection from exploitative practices, HIV and AIDS, the dangers of drug abuse and life skills. In Burma, DfID is contributing £450,000 to the street and working children programme, which includes HIV and AIDS education.

Access to HIV and AIDS treatment remains poor for all children. Achieving universal access therefore commits DfID to increase its support to £200 million for social protection programmes and to provide £6 billion on strengthening integrated health systems and services over seven years to 2015. Stronger health systems are critical to scaling up the response to AIDS and achieving universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support including to marginalised groups such as street children.

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Israel and Palestine: Gaza

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: Access to safe drinking water remains a key challenge in Gaza. Two things are needed to help the infrastructure cope with Gaza's water shortages. First, the lifting of restrictions on spare parts and other material to repair the sewerage and water systems. On this, the Government fully support the efforts of the quartet representative to negotiate with Israel on getting vital equipment into Gaza to repair the water and sanitation infrastructure.

Secondly, enough fuel is required for the Gaza power plant so that it can generate sufficient electricity for the water treatment plants to operate effectively. The availability of fuel is an issue we have repeatedly raised with the Government of Israel.

We therefore welcome the recent increase in delivery of fuel to the Gaza power plant. Although it remains less than what is required for the power plant to operate at full capacity, this is a welcome step towards increasing water availability and improving the lives of ordinary Palestinians in Gaza. Fuel to the Gaza power plant is paid for by the European Commission (EC). The UK provides 17 per cent of the EC's overall budget and has contributed substantially to its temporary international mechanism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

North Korea: Food Shortages

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: We are considering the World Food Programme's (WFP) assessment and will take a decision on whether to provide additional food aid once we have discussed it with our European Union partners. Discussions should take place in the next few weeks. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has granted the WFP access to previously closed counties. We continue to press for access to those counties that remain closed.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Crawley: We have no development programme in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We provided food aid of £700,000 in 2007 in response to a United Nations flood appeal. This supported programmes by the World Food Programme and Save the Children UK. Most NGOs are put off working in the DPRK by the operating difficulties and restrictions on their work. We are always willing to advise, and to facilitate where possible, if an organisation is keen to set up in the DPRK.

Transport: Fuel Consumption

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Department for Transport officials have not analysed the impact of raising average speeds of traffic by 2 per cent, and so do not have an estimate of the effect on fuel consumption.

The impact on fuel consumption of raising average speeds will primarily depend on whether raising the average speed on different types of road will move individual vehicles closer to or further away from their optimal fuel efficient speed.

The optimum speed for most cars is around 40 to 45mph, thus for roads where the average speed is below this optimal speed, an increase in the average speed may reduce fuel consumption for a given journey, although this may also have a negative impact on road safety and accidents. For roads where average speed is above this optimal speed, an increase in the average speed may increase fuel consumption for a given journey.

Transport: Illegal Drivers

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government are concerned about vehicles being driven on our roads by drivers who do not have the correct driving entitlement or appropriate insurance.

To tackle those driving without a licence, we do all that we can to assist the police and the courts in

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detecting and prosecuting cases of unlicensed driving. A critical step has been the provision to the police of 24-hour access to accurate and up-to-date driver licensing information (including a photograph where appropriate) at the roadside to assist detection and enforcement. There are also good IT links between the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the courts to assist in effective prosecution of offenders.

We have already introduced a number of measures to tackle insurance evasion. In 2005, police access to the motor insurance database was improved. This enabled them to have data on uninsured vehicles for use with their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The police were also given powers to seize, and in appropriate cases destroy, vehicles being driven uninsured.

The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced a new offence of being a registered keeper for which there is no valid motor insurance. Further regulations are required to bring the provisions into force and the detail of the scheme will be consulted on this autumn. The new offence will allow enforcement action to be taken where it is shown from the record that there is no valid insurance in place. The intention is to roll the new scheme out from 2010-11.

In August 2008, a new offence of causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured was introduced, carrying a custodial sentence of up to two years.

UN: Defamation of Religion

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK has consistently voted against resolutions on defamation of religion in the UN Human Rights Council. Under international human rights law it is individuals (and not religions) who have rights, beliefs or philosophies. The UK is concerned that the concept of defamation of religion can be used to undermine human rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom of religion itself. We strongly believe that freedom of expression and freedom of religion go hand in hand and that both rights are complementary and necessary in a democratic society.

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