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Written Answers

Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 11 April 2003

Cabinet Office

European Working Groups

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on progress with achieving transparency in respect of the European working groups for which his Department is responsible. [105738]

The Cabinet Office does not have lead responsibility for any Council Working Groups.

Pfi Schemes

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the expected saving to public funds from the private finance initiative schemes due to become operational in 2003. [105721]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) gave to the hon. Member on 10 April Official Report, column 400W.

Public And Advisory Bodies

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the criteria are for classifying public and advisory bodies as(a) executive non-departmental public bodies, (b) advisory non-departmental public bodies, (c) task forces, (d) ad hoc advisory groups and (e) reviews; and what particular qualities or characteristics distinguish these bodies from each other. [102521]

[pursuant to his answer, 17 March 2003, Official Report, c. 499–500 WI: Paragraph 6 of the answer should have read, Some of these bodies may go onto become classified as NDPBs where the need for the body's advice continues beyond its original life span e.g. Skills Task Force and the New Deal Task Force.

Regions White Paper

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress has been made by the Cabinet Office towards the aim in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", of encouraging applicants to public bodies from all parts of England; what change there has been in the geographical diversity of appointees to NDPBs and other public bodies sponsored by the Cabinet Office since the publication of the White Paper; what the outcome was of the regional seminars organised by the Cabinet Office for women interested in serving on a public body; who the attendees were; and how many attendees have begun to serve on public bodies since attending one of these seminars. [108562]

The Government are keen to promote greater national diversity on the boards of public bodies. Departments are advertising their public appointments vacancies on a new website (www.publicapptsvacs.gov.uk) launched by my Department on 27 March 2003. The website currently has details of over 100 opportunities, arising at local and regional levels throughout the country, as well as those with a national remit. Departments also publicise vacancies in the media and on their own departmental websites.All public appointments are made on merit. For my own Department, between 14 May 2002 and 31 March 2003, five new appointments were made to NDPB's. Those appointed live in either London or the South-East region.The regional seminars for women held during 2002 to help increase awareness of public appointments were organised by the Women and Equality Unit, which is now in the Department of Trade and Industry. The seminars were aimed at encouraging more women from the regions, minority ethnic women and disabled women who are already participating in public life to apply for regional and national public appointments. There were eight regional seminars which 848 women attended. In addition, five national seminars took place, targeted at specialist female audiences. In total, 1,328 women, from diverse backgrounds, attended the 13 seminars. As a result of the seminars, 91 per cent. of those attending said that they would be more likely to apply for an appointment after attending the seminars.

Culture, Media And Sport

Employment Relations Act

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff in her Department have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. [108353]

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has a range of flexible working policies intended to help staff achieve a better work/life balance, including paid and unpaid special leave. Staff are entitled to take a maximum of 10 days paid special leave each year to deal with domestic crises, as well as an extended period of unpaid special leave if appropriate. No central records are kept of the numbers of staff taking this leave and no requests have been received under the Employment Relations Act 1999.

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the Review of Lottery Funding consultation paper launched last year. [108212]

We received over 400 substantive responses from a wide range of people including local authorities, charities, voluntary groups, individual members of the public and of course Lottery distributors. An analysis of the responses can be found on the Department's website at www.culture.gov.uk/lottery and we are using them to help develop specific proposals which we intend to publish this summer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will set up a system to report the proportion of Lottery funds which are spent on projects that previously would have competed for central government funding. [108473]

We have no plans to set up a system on this basis. It is the Government's policy that Lottery funding should be additional to, rather than substitute for, Government spending.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of the good causes Lottery money was distributed via the (a) Community Fund and (b) New Opportunities Fund in 2002–03; and what her estimate is of these proportions in the next two years. [108477]

Of all the money entering the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) in 2002–03, one sixth was allocated for distribution by the Community Fund and one third by the New Opportunities Fund (NOF). I have guaranteed the share passing to the charitable good cause until 2009. Currently this is distributed solely by the Community Fund. There are no plans at present to change the share passing to the NOF, which distributes funds for health, education and environment good causes.Interest accruing on the balance held in the NLDF passes to the distributors in proportion to their share of the overall balance.

Parental Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff in her Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive since it came into force. [108411]

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has a range of policies intended to support staff with parental responsibilities including paid maternity and paternity leave; adoptive leave; career breaks; special leave with and without pay; and a range of flexible working options. To date no staff have requested leave under the Parental Leave Directive.

Property Portfolio

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the estimated value is of the property portfolio held by her Department. [108376]

The property operated by the DCMS is held on commercial leases of some years standing and in relation to current market rents has no realisable value. The notional value of Royal Parks property is not included.

Regions White Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress her Department has made towards the goal set out in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice," of (a) ensuring that regional awareness and devolution feature strongly in Civil Service training and development, (b) increasing the mobility of civil servants between headquarters offices, regional offices and the Government Offices and (c) encouraging interchange between the Civil Service and organisations in the regions. [108580]

The information is as follows:

  • (a) The Civil Service College runs courses specifically for those civil servants who work with the devolved administrations. The Department's key NDPB's have regional agencies on whom we rely for the delivery of our agenda and our Departmental induction courses cover awareness of local and regional government.
  • (b) Although the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has no regional offices, we are already fully integrated into the Government Office network and welcome two way interchange.
  • (c)We also have a strong record on interchange with 4 per cent. of staff on secondment, 5 per cent. of staff on outward loan and 25 per cent. of staff on inward loan. 15 per cent. of the staff on outward secondment are based in regional organisations.
  • Staff Numbers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff were employed by her Department in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [106978]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr. Alexander), on 4 April 2003, Official Report, columns 891–92W.

    Defence

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will publish the findings of the inquiry into Challenger II friendly fire incident on the 25 March in Iraq. [108147]

    Any incident of this nature will be subject of a Board of Inquiry. The Board relating to the suspected "friendly fire" incident on 25 March will be convened when the security environment in Iraq allows. It is not possible at this stage to predict when the findings of that Board will be available for publication.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence he has received that British servicemen involved in the invasion of Iraq were executed by Iraqi authorities after being captured as prisoners of war. [106428]

    Initial information available to us indicated that two British servicemen may have been executed by Iraqi forces. We are conducting a full investigation to try to determine all the circumstances of this incident.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the combat forces in Iraq contributed by coalition members other than the United Kingdom and the United States. [107662]

    The role of combat forces in Iraq is a matter for the Governments of their respective countries, but as the Prime Minister acknowledged in his joint Hillsborough statement with President Bush,, "we are grateful to our men and women in uniform, as well as to the brave troops of Australia and Poland, and to forces contributed by other members of the Coalition".

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cluster bombs have been used by British forces in Iraq since the start of the war. [107833]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidelines have been issued to United Kingdom military personnel and medical auxiliaries in respect of protection measures to be taken when approaching Iraqi tanks destroyed by depleted uranium munitions; and what post operational health checks are planned for United Kingdom military and medical auxiliaries who may be exposed to the inhalation or ingestion of depleted uranium dust in the battlefields during the invasion of Iraq. [107998]

    Safety instructions, covering all aspects of the hazard management of DU munitions in theatre, have been issued by the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) through the operational chain of command to all units and formations deployed in the joint area of operations. I will be placing copies in the Library of the House and on the MOD website.The safety instructions make clear that the risks from DU are far lower than those from other hazards arising from military operations and that combat and lifesaving activities should never be delayed on account of concern over DU.UK military personnel are advised not to touch, pick up or retain souvenirs from tanks struck by DU rounds, nor climb onto or into them unless specifically required to do so. In general, personnel should stay at least 50 metres away from a struck tank and attempt to stay upwind of the tank while it is on fire. Eating, drinking and smoking should be avoided near struck tanks.If there is a requirement for UK military personnel to enter the vicinity of a DU—struck tank, then the advice is to cover all exposed skin. If practicable, NEC rubber or leather gloves should be worn and a dust mask or wet cloth should be used to cover the nose and mouth. Full NEC protective equipment is not necessary unless prolonged dust-raising activities are to be carried out. The task should be completed as quickly as possible, keeping dust disturbance to a minimum. As soon as possible after task completion, dust should be brushed off clothing in a controlled and marked site. Facial masks and gloves should be maintained until contaminated clothing has been removed. Outer clothing should be changed at the first convenient opportunity and laundered in the normal way before being worn again. Hands should then be washed before eating, drinking or smoking.The Defence Medical Services Directorate has disseminated separate medical instructions to medical staff. Medics should, if practicable, wear filter masks, plastic aprons and double-layered surgical gloves. Aprons and gloves should be changed between patients. Patients should be wrapped in a blanket for transport, contaminated clothing should be cut off and bagged and wounds that may contain DU must be cleaned at the earliest opportunity under running water and covered with a dry dressing.UK military personnel that may have been contaminated with DU are to have that fact annotated in their medical and personal records. Personnel will be advised of their access to biological monitoring; Personnel who have had an encounter with a struck tank will be advised to accept a urine test for uranium exposure. All other troops who served in theatre will have the opportunity to have a urine test for uranium exposure if they wish. Other tests will be conducted as considered clinically necessary. MOD's full policy for biological monitoring for DU is published on MOD's internet site at: http://www.mod.uk/issues/depleteduranium/du-biomonituring.htm.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to introduce a free parcel scheme which will allow the family and friends of members of the armed forces currently based in the Gulf, to send parcels at no cost. [108120]

    [holding answer 9 April 2003]: I refer the hon. Member to my Written Ministerial Statement of 8 April Official Report, column 15WS and 10 April Official Report, column 32–34WS.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral Answer of 2 April 2003, Official Report, column 912, on postage to Her Majesty's forces in Iraq, when he expects operational difficulties to have been resolved to allow packages to be sent free to the forces. [108209]

    [holding answer 9 April 2003]: I refer the hon. Member to my Written Ministerial Statement of 8 April 2003, Official Report, column 15WS, and 10 April 2003, Official Report, columns 32–34WS.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the qualifying period will be for a member of the British Armed Forces to be awarded a campaign medal in recognition of their service in Iraq; [108527](2) whether soldiers that prematurely return from the Gulf on medical grounds will be awarded campaign medals in recognition of their service in Iraq; [108526](3) what plans he has made to award campaign medals to British troops fighting in the Gulf in recognition of their service in Iraq. [108525]

    A decision on whether to award a campaign medal to British Armed Forces serving as members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq will not be made until the primary objectives have been completed. Certainly a case for an award will be considered in due course and the associated eligibility criteria will take into account those individuals evacuated from the Gulf on medical grounds as a matter of course.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision has been made by the British armed forces to clear unexploded bomblets from cluster bombs used in the war in Iraq. [108684]

    A United Kingdom joint force explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) organisation of over 200 EOD-trained personnel is currently active in Iraq dismantling minefields, demolition charges and booby traps erected or left behind by the Iraqis. It is also stockpiling and destroying munitions, explosives and weapons discarded by members of the Iraqi armed forces. The same force will, as part of its routine operations to support freedom of military action, destroy any alliance weapons it finds that have failed to function, including unexploded cluster bomblets. Plans for humanitarian clearance of unexploded or abandoned munitions by appropriate UN or civilian contractors are still being drawn up. The Ministry of Defence will provide information on the use of munitions to assist humanitarian clearance.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his written statement of 8 April, on welfare support for personnel in the Gulf, when he expects that the operational situation will allow the Government to implement its plans for enabling families to send parcels free of charge to troops serving in the Gulf; and if he will make a statement. [108829]

    Family and friends will be able to send letters and packets up to 2kg in weight to named personnel at BFPO addresses in the Gulf with effect from Thursday 17 April 2003. I refer the hon. Member also to my Written Statement to the House of 10 April 2003, Official Report, columns 32–34WS.

    Mod Police/Silver Command

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the arrangements are between MOD police and Silver Command under the responsibility of Gloucestershire Police, with particular reference to liaison between police officers and peace protesters at RAF Fairford. [108786]

    The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) and Gloucestershire Constabulary are operating from a joint Silver Command Operation Room located at RAF Fairford. The Operation Room is manned by senior officers from MDP and Gloucestershire Constabulary and includes representatives from the United States Security Forces and the Royal Air Force Police. Liaison with protestors at RAF Fairford by officers from the Ministry of Defence Police and Gloucestershire Constabulary is undertaken as and when required.

    Raf Fairford

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what circumstances use of deadly force will be sanctioned at RAF Fairford; [108785](2) if he will make a statement on the notices posted on the fences around RAF Fairford stating that use of deadly force is authorised. [108784]

    The notices are necessary to warn individuals that unauthorised entry into the inner area of the base is not permitted. They are displayed on a temporary internal security fence enclosing a much smaller area where aircraft are parked. The notices do not purport to be a statement of the law.The reference to the authorisation of deadly force on the notice does not amount to a blanket pre-authorisation. It is US practice, in relation to specially sensitive areas, to draw attention to what is implicit whenever armed personnel (US or British) are deployed to guard military installations in the UK, namely that they are authorised to use lethal force in circumstances where it is lawful.It is not our practice to disclose details of Rules of Engagement for reasons of operational security. I am therefore withholding the information in accordance with Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

    Uk Arms Industry

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his guidelines are on sources of supply for (a) ammunition and (b) propellant in the United Kingdom arms industry. [107264]

    The guidelines used to determine which sources of supply provide ammunition to the Ministry of Defence are based on smart acquisition principles, which utilise competition to obtain best value for money in meeting the military requirement, whilst ensuring security of supply. The source of propellant is judged to be a matter for the supplier. However, potential suppliers are required to provide advice on the sources of the components in each bid and security of supply is taken into account during the tender process.

    Deputy Prime Minister

    Affordable Housing

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the local authorities which will receive reduced Government support for affordable housing after the abolition of the local authority social housing grant. [107667]

    In my statement of 5 March, I announced increased provision for transitional arrangements for Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LASHG). Transitional funding will now support investment in social housing of up to £550 million in 2003–04—£50 million more than the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister provided in 2002–03 from LASHG, and higher than in any previous year. The local authority areas in which this investment will take place will not be known until after 30 June 2003, which is the deadline for new schemes for 2003–04 to be submitted to the Housing Corporation.For future years, resources will be allocated between authorities in line with recommendations of the Regional Housing Boards, reflecting regionally-agreed priorities.

    Anti-Social Behaviour

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers are available to (a) local authorities and (b) the police to tackle problems of anti-social behaviour in private properties. [108025]

    To supplement the full range of criminal law that the police may use, the Government have introduced a wide range of measures to help both local authorities and the police tackle anti-social behaviour, notably Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and fixed penalty notices for disorder offences.Additional powers are being introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill to give local authorities tools to deal with anti-social behaviour. The draft Housing Bill proposes powers to allow local authorities to license private landlords in areas of low housing demand or anti-social behaviour.

    Civil Emergencies

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the key generic capabilities being developed for dealing with civil emergencies; what progress is being made with developing each of the key generic capabilities for civil emergency preparation; when he expects officials to report; when decisions will have been made on their practical implementation; which of the key areas do not have guidance suitable for dealing with a contemporary threat; and what the Government response will be in an emergency while the current programme of work on each of the 11 areas continues. [102926]

    I have been asked to reply.I am replying as the Minister responsible for work across Government to co-ordinate our counter-terrorist and resilience work.I set out in my statement of 3 March 2003,

    Official Report, column 72WS, the 11 key generic capabilities that allow the United Kingdom to recover quickly from the most demanding emergencies. These are:

    • central response
    • essential services
    • local response
    • decontamination
    • site clearance
    • treatment of infectious diseases
    • treatment of mass casualties
    • mass evacuation
    • identification and assessment
    • warning, informing and alerting
    • dealing with mass fatalities

    We already have the capacity to respond to emergency situations. What we are looking to do is to further enhance our capability in the areas set out. We will constantly strive to improve our ability to respond to emergencies in this most effective and efficient way possible. The capability programme we have set in place is one aspect of that work.

    The Committee on Consequence Management and Resilience which I chair receives regular reports on progress in these areas, which includes implementation

    of recommendations. We are not going to wait until the capability programme is complete before implementing recommendations. If the programme highlights ways in which we can enhance our resilience in some areas by acting sooner we will take those decisions as soon as is practicable.

    Yesterday I announced an additional £331 million of resources to fund a range of projects to enhance.

    Councillors

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will undertake a review of the application of the law as it applies to qualified privilege for councillors; and if he will make a statement. [108384]

    There are currently no plans for such a review. I understand that the Law Commission will shortly be publishing their recommendations following a review of the publication of local authority reports, and that those recommendations are likely to include proposals on the law of defamation as it applies to local authorities. The Government will consider the Law Commission's report carefully.

    Countryside Agency Report

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the findings of the Countryside Agency Report, "The State of the Countryside 2020", on Cambridgeshire with regard to (a) long-term transport infrastructure, (b) planning to meet future demand for public services and (c) affordable housing for key public sector workers. [108524]

    "The State of the Countryside 2020" report is the Countryside Agency's contribution to the 'Tomorrow Project', which was launched in 1996 to encourage people and organisations to think about the future. 22 companies, charitable organisations, Government Departments and agencies currently support it. This report does not have specific implications for local or national policy, but will help inform the wide range of Government policies which bear on the future of the countryside and rural society. It does not bring to light entirely new issues, and the Government are already active on a wide front to tackle the problems which are discussed.

    Departmental Catering Services

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was of (a) the in-house canteen and (b) other catering services provided by the Department in 2002. [104256]

    The catering services within the buildings of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are contracted on a non-cost basis, with the contractor recovering their costs through income from the services. The only cost to the Office in 2002 was to cover basic kitchen equipment to the value of £20,000.

    Departmental Website

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total cost of his Department's website was in the last 12 months; and how many hits it received in the same period. [104197]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002. The estimated total cost of the office website (www.odpm.gov.uk) from 1 June 2002 to 31 March 2003 is £752,000. This includes staff costs, development and HTML conversion costs. It also includes the capital costs of developing a new website, which aims to provide the Office with an improved website in terms of design, navigation and information retrieval. The new website, which is under development, accounts for 70 per cent. of total costs.During the period 1 July (when statistics were first available for the ODPM website) to 19 March 2003 the total number of page impressions (used as a measure of 'hits') was 15,547,195.

    Derelict Property

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers are available to (a) local authorities and (b) the police to require landlords to improve derelict (i) commercial and (ii) other property. [108026]

    Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides local planning authorities with a discretionary power to serve a notice requiring landowners and occupiers of the land to remedy the condition of land adversely affecting the amenity of the neighbourhood. It is for the local planning authority to decide whether the amenity of their area is being adversely affected by the condition of the land. Local authorities also have powers to undertake clean up works themselves under section 215 and to recover costs from the landowner. The power is enforceable through the magistrates courts.Local authorities have powers under the Housing Act 1985 to require improvement of dwellings that are unfit for human habitation. They may serve a notice requiring repairs to be carried out within a specified period or may carry out repairs to the property and, if necessary, recover the costs from the owner.Police powers are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Bright side (Mr. Blunkett).

    Enforcement And Inspection Powers

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will introduce legislation to reduce fragmentation of enforcement and inspection powers relating to residential properties, offices, commercial premises and transport locations. [99988]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no current plans to introduce such legislation.The Local Services Inspectorate Forum has already secured a significant increase in co-ordinated activity within local government. Three-year inspection programmes for councils subject to a Comprehensive Performance Assessment will deliver risk-based inspection. This approach allows inspections to be shaped around need.

    Entertainment Costs

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost has been to his Department in (a) each of the last five financial years and (b) this year to date of the entertainment of foreign dignitaries and delegations. [104181]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 84W.The information given includes the cost of the entertainment of foreign dignitaries and delegations incurred by Ministers and the Permanent Secretary and their Private Offices.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was spent on hospitality and entertainment by (a) his Department, (b) his Department's agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies, in each year since 1997. [104218]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 84W.Additional information for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, including its agencies, and its non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Fire Service College

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions the hon. Member for Shipley had when he visited the Fire Service College in Moretonin-Marsh on 7 April 2003; what the implications were of these discussions for the future of the college; and what the timescale is for the private management contract. [109143]

    I did not visit the Fire Service College on 7 April 2003. The Task Group established to consider the future of the College had its final meeting on that date in London. I expect to receive the Task Group's report shortly.

    Groundwork

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much of the funding given to Groundwork to work with local authorities and communities to deliver environmental regeneration has been allocated; and if he will make a statement. [107990]

    "Sustainable communities: building for the future" announced £40 million of funding to support the work of Groundwork over the next three years. This funding has been allocated to each year as follows: £13 million in 2003–04, £13 million in 2004–05; and £14 million in 2005–06.

    Housing

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment he has made of the level of housing need in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) the UK. [107540]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member on 7 January 2003, Official Report, column 115W. No further information has yet been collected.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he intends to publish the results of the consultation on housing capital. [107810]

    In August 2002 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister issued the consultation document The Way Forward for Housing Capital Finance', consulting on a range of issues concerning the future of housing capital finance. Almost 300 responses were received. The decisions reached on the issues consulted on are reflected in "Sustainable Communities: building for the future" and the Local Government Bill currently before Parliament. A letter went to all Chief Finance Officers in local housing authorities in England on 1 April setting out in detail the proposed arrangements for the proposals consulted on. This letter is available at www.odpm.gov.uk, and in the Library of the House.

    Liveability

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) guidance, (b) memoranda, (c) reports and (d) consultations his Department has (i) published and (ii) prepared on liveability.[107987]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has published the following reports:

    "Living Places-Cleaner, Safer, Greener", which sets out the conclusions of the Cross-Cutting Review on Improving Public Space and the Government's response to the recommendations of the Urban Green Spaces Taskforce (October 2002). The "Literature Review of Public Space and Local Environments for the Cross Cutting Review Final Report" is also available from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at www.odpm.gov.uk.
    "Sustainable Communities—Building for the Future", which announced £201 million over the next three years to help deliver on liveability and local environment issues (February 2003).
    "Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport" and Recreation (July 2002) and "Assessing Needs and Opportunities: A Companion Guide to PPG17" (September 2002).

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with representatives of the voluntary sector with regard to the liveability agenda. [107988]

    Representatives from the voluntary sector were involved in developing the liveability agenda through their membership of the Urban Green Spaces Taskforce and through their involvement in the Cross-Cutting Review on Improving Public Space.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to involve local Agenda 21 groups with liveability policies. [107991]

    In taking forward the liveability agenda the Government's aim is to engage with all local groups with an interest in improving the quality of their local environment.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what definition of the term liveability his Department uses. [107992]

    Liveability is about building stronger local communities and enhancing quality of life through action to improve the quality of local environments and the places where people live.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made by the Community Enablers Scheme for direct community action to improve local liveability. [107993]

    "Sustainable communities: building for the future" announced £30 million for the Community Enablers' Scheme over three years. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently finalising the business plan for delivering the scheme with Groundwork, who will be responsible for its management. The Scheme will be open for applications from community groups in May this year.

    Local Government Ombudsmen

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether additional local government ombudsmen have been appointed to deal with their new remit of covering internal drainage boards. [107698]

    I have been asked to reply.As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State announced on 12 March, we believe that there would be advantage in bringing internal drainage boards under the jurisdiction of the local government ombudsman. We will be discussing this with the ombudsman's office and making further announcements about this in due course.

    Ministerial Visits

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which Ministers in his Department visited Essex in 2002; and what subjects were discussed. [106820]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created in May 2002. Since then my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich visited Thames Chase in Upminister for the opening of the Harold Wood Community Woodland on 18 September 2002. My hon. Friend, the Lord Rooker visited Colchester to view housing projects, on 10 September 2002, and visited Basildon and Southend on 23 September 2002 as part of a Thames Gateway regions visit.

    Planning And Compulsory Purchase Bill

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many clauses were (a) debated fully, (b) partially debated and (c) not debated during the Committee Stage of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill. [108289]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) on 5 February 2003, Official Report, column 348W.

    Projects Support (Wycombe)

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) projects and (b) organisations have been supported in the Wycombe constituency by (c) the New Deal for Communities, (d) Strategic Partnerships and (e) Neighbourhood Renewal.[108804]

    Wycombe is not one of the four Neighbourhood Renewal areas in the south-east. It therefore receives neither the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund nor New Deal for Communities funding. Wycombe Local Strategic Partnership is a non-funded LSP that incorporates a wide spectrum of statutory, non-statutory and voluntary bodies.

    Queen Elizabeth Ii Conference Centre

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what his estimate is of the (a) annual running costs and (b) net annual cost to the Exchequer of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in each year from 1990—91 to 2005—06 (planned); and if he will make a statement; [101707](2)what his estimate is of the current market valuation of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre; what plans he has to privatise this facility; and if he will make a statement; [101706](3) what assessment has been made of the value for money of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre; and if he will make a statement. [101581]

    The annual running costs and annual net financial results for The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre from 1990—91 to 2001—02 were published in its annual report and accounts, copies of which were placed in the Libraries of the House. The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre operates in a competitive market place and for reasons of commercial sensitivity its corporate and financial plans are not made publicly available.

    The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre was independently valued at £20 million as at 1 April 1999. This was confirmed by a further valuation as at 1 April 2002. Following a review the Government announced on 15 October 2001 that The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre would retain its public sector role and status. The review did not recommend contracting out or privatisation, which it considered could be difficult to implement, and would be poor value for money. It also concluded that any market interest in the site would be likely to relate to development for uses other than a conference centre. The Centre was seen as an important London facility, attracting considerable business tourism. A summary of the review findings was placed in the Libraries of the House.

    Urban Summit

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the interdepartmental ministerial team set up to deliver cross-Government working on liveability after the Urban summit. [107986]

    The Inter-departmental Ministerial Group, which I chair, will provide a forum for Ministers with portfolios that impact upon 'liveability' issues to discuss and co-ordinate action to progress the programme of work set out in "Living Places: Cleaner, Safer, Greener".

    Education And Skills

    Adult Numeracy And Literacy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many adults there were with less than acceptable levels of numeracy and literacy in each local education authority in (a) 2001 and b 2002; and what proportion of the adult population this represented in each case. [107921]

    [holding answer 9 April]: We do not have data on the number of adults with less than acceptable levels of literacy and numeracy in each local education authority for either 2001 or 2002. The Department has commissioned a new representative sample survey of working age adults in England to provide an up-to-date assessment of the scale of literacy and numeracy need. These estimates will be mapped to the new national basic skills standards and will be published in summer 2003. It is hoped that the data will be robust enough for regional estimates of adult literacy and numeracy to be produced.

    Investors In People

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which companies located in the Buckingham constituency received Investors in People awards in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [107779]

    The information requested is not collected on a constituency basis.Organisations which received recognition as Investors in People in the town of Buckingham are as follows:

    YearOrganisation
    2001–02Maids Moreton CE School
    2002–03Swan Pool and Leisure Centre

    National Insurance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost will be to public funds in 2003–04 of the rise in national insurance contributions on the salary bill of his Department. [107895]

    It is estimated that the changes to employers' national insurance contributions announced in the 2002 Budget will increase pay costs on average by 0.7 per cent. in 2003–04.

    Skills (Prisons)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he is taking to encourage the acquisition of skills by (a) prison officers and (b) prisoners. [107716]

    We are providing substantial additional investment to improve the quality and quantity of prison education. Funding of £77 million in 02–03 increases to £97 million in 03–04, £122 million in 04–05 and £137 million in 05–06, including in each year £12 million for vocational training which is transferring from the Home Office to the Department for Education and Skills. This additional investment will support prisons in exceeding the record numbers of around £37,000 basic skills qualifications and 80,000 work skills qualifications achieved in 02–03. It will support increases in core provision and also target funding to support developments in infrastructure and quality improvement.The Prison Service is part of the Governments 'Skills for Life' strategy which includes national projects for developing basic skills for staff and prisoners who are able to use new national curriculum tests that look to improve their basic skills.

    Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

    Bass Stocks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has held with representatives of angling groups and charter skippers since January 2001 to consider further conservation measures to protect bass stocks in UK waters; what the latest estimate is of bass stocks in UK waters; and what further discussions her Department has had with the European Commission to consider conservation measures at Community level. [107557]

    Since January 2001, officials have met representatives of sea angling associations and charter boat owners on an annual basis to consider a number of issues of interest to them, including the conservation of bass stocks. In addition to formal annual meetings, anglers are always consulted on fisheries management when their interests are likely to be affected.The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas' Advisory Committee for Fisheries Management reported last year to the European Commission on the status of sea bass in European waters. The report concluded that the fishing mortality was sustainable but that, given uncertainties in the assessment and the possible influences of an unfavourable change in environmental conditions on recruitment, fishing effort should not be allowed to increase. The Commission has yet to come forward with any proposals in response to this report which might aid the sustainability of bass stocks.

    Cliffe Airport

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications of an airport at Cliffe for sites designated under (a) the EU Birds Directive and (b) the EU Habitats Directive; and if she will make a statement. [108435]

    [holding answer 10 April 2003]: No assessment of this type has been made. If the option of an airport at Cliffe were supported in the Government's proposed Air Transport White Paper and a planning application were brought forward, there would be a need for a full assessment as required under article 6 of the Habitats Directive. This is because of the proximity of the site to the Thames Estuary and Marshes Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar sites.

    Dolphins

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on implementing the EU Habitats Directive to protect dolphins in the English Channel; and if he will make a statement. [108169]

    The EC Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC is implemented in territorial waters around the English coast by the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations SI 1994/2716. Under Article 12 of this Directive member states are obliged to prohibit all forms of deliberate capture or killing and deliberate disturbance of dolphins and all other cetaceans. This provision is implemented by regulation 39 of SI 1994/2716. My Department will shortly issue a consultation document extending this protection to those offshore waters over which the United Kingdom exercises sovereignty. My Department carries out monitoring of the bycatch of cetaceans by UK vessels in English Channel in line with the obligations of Article 12(1)(d) of the Habitats Directive.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dolphin carcases have been washed up from the English Channel since the beginning of January 2003; how many carcases were recorded in the same time period in 2002; and if she will make a statement. [108193]

    From 1 January to 31 March 2003, a total of 249 dolphins have been reported as stranded on the south coast (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, West and East Sussex). These comprised 129 common dolphins and 120 unidentified dolphins. No dolphins have been reported as stranded from 1 to 9 April 2003.During the period from 1 January to 31 March 2002, in the same area 110 dolphin strandings were reported: 66 common dolphins and 44 unidentified dolphins.It should be noted that these figures include stranded dead cetaceans, live strandings, carcasses seen floating at sea, reported cetacean by-catch and cases of unconfirmed or suspected cetacean by-catch. The data were obtained under the Defra-funded Cetacean and Turtle Strandings Scheme, carried out by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and Scottish Agricultural College.

    Drainage Boards

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the local government Ombudsmen will extend their remit to cover internal drainage boards; and when cases concerning internal drainage boards may be submitted to local government Ombudsmen for consideration. [107691]

    As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 12 March, we believe that there would be advantage in bringing internal drainage boards under the jurisdiction of the local government ombudsman. We will be discussing this with the ombudsman's office and making further announcements about this in due course.

    Landfill Tax Credit Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans (a) have been made and (b) are in progress to determine the future funding mechanism for local schemes promoting sustainable waste issues following the end of the landfill tax credit scheme; [106459](2) when she intends to announce the format of the successor scheme for landfill tax credit scheme categories

    (a) C and (b) CC; [106469]

    (3) if she will make a statement on the design of the scheme that will replace categories C and CC of the landfill tax credit scheme. [106461]

    In the pre-Budget Report the Chancellor announced changes to the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme which would leave approximately one third (£47 million) to be made available for spending on local community environmental projects, via a scheme similar to the existing one. The remaining two thirds will be converted into a public expenditure programme for sustainable waste management. The public expenditure programme will enable us to take forward the package of strategic measures recommended by the Strategy Unit in their report, 'Waste Not. Want Not'. The design of this scheme, including replacement of catergories C, CC of the LTCS, will be announced alongside the Government's official response to the Strategy Unit's report, which is planned for around the time of the budget.

    Over-30-Months Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of (a) the risk to human health and (b) costs of (i) direct incineration and (ii) rendering followed by incineration of carcases under the over-30-months scheme. [107814]

    To assess the risk of over-30-months (slaughter) scheme (OTMS) operations the Environment Agency commissioned a number of studies from independent expert consultants to establish the risk from BSE to human health via different environmental pathways, based on the precautionary principle. These reports covered both the incineration of carcass material and the incineration of rendered products. They were produced in consultation with the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) and published in 1997. They showed that the risks are negligible compared to other risks in daily life and endorsed SEAC's advice to Government in 1996 that the current and proposed methods of dealing with animal waste material from the slaughter of cattle are safe.

    The cost of rendering and subsequent incineration of rendered products is less expensive than that of the direct incineration of cattle carcasses. However there are some benefits to the direct incineration of carcases in terms of quicker re-imbursement of compensation sums to the Exchequer from the EU. Both methods of disposal are used under OTMS and each represent good value for money.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Afghanistan

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what policy the Government has in respect of the increased production of poppies, which can be processed into drugs, in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [107747]

    The UK is co-ordinating international anti-narcotics assistance to Afghanistan. With the endorsement of the Afghan Government and in consultation with other international stakeholders (especially the UN), the UK has developed a long-term strategy. This identifies four key areas where assistance should be targeted: improving Afghan law enforcement capability; rural reconstruction to generate alternative livelihoods for opium poppy farmers; capacity-building for Afghan drug control institutions; and establishing prevention/treatment programmes to tackle addiction.

    Departmental Advertising (Expenditure)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's total spending was on advertising and promotional campaigns between April 2002 and March 2003; and what the cost of each campaign was, broken down by costs relating to (a) television, (b) radio and (c) print media. [106433]

    Most expenditure by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on publicity materials is not allocated to specific promotional campaigns. Rather it is deployed in support of the FCO's efforts to promote greater understanding and awareness of the UK to overseas audiences, to project the UK's strengths and increase trade, inward investment, tourism, and the influence of UK foreign policy. An exception is the FCO's consular publicity campaigns, which are aimed at encouraging UK travellers to be better prepared before going overseas. These accounted for £908,294 in the period April 2002—March 2003, of which £32,459 was spent on advertising.Other separately identifiable expenditure on publicity materials and advertising between April 2002 and March 2003 totalled £8,670,615. Of this, £570,211 comprised advertising for recruitment purposes.There was additional expenditure in the UK and overseas that, under FCO accounting procedures, cannot be separately identified as advertising or promotional campaigns; to attempt to disaggregate this would incur disproportionate cost.

    This expenditure is not compiled according to their relation to television, radio or print media. Moreover, it includes expenditure on events, research and production of promotional materials with no particular relation to any of these media. Therefore such a breakdown could not be compiled without incurring disproportionate cost.

    All figures are subject to final auditing to take account of any end year adjustments. The figures provided represent the expenditure of the FCO and not of Wilton Park, our only agency, or our 10 NDPBs; these details are not held centrally and could not therefore be compiled without incurring disproportionate cost.

    The Government are committed to using only cost effective channels to deliver the publicity necessary to support policy implementation. Paid advertising is only resorted to after careful consideration of the cost-benefits.

    Dyncorp Aerospace Ltd

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on the storage of landmines in the Gulf region by DynCorp Aerospace Ltd.; [107172](2) whether an investigation has been launched into the activities of DynCorp Aerospace Ltd., in respect of the storage of landmines in the Gulf region; whether information relating to possible breaches of the Landmines Act 1998 by DynCorp Aerospace Ltd. has been passed by his Department to the police; and whether employees of DynCorp Aerospace Ltd. have been prosecuted for breaches of the Landmines Act 1998. [107171]

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not aware that any investigation has been launched into the activities of DynCorp Aerospace Ltd. or that any of its employees have been prosecuted for breaches of the 1998 Landmines Act. The Department has not come into the possession of any relevant evidence, though naturally, if it were to do so, it would pass this to the police for investigation.

    Moldova

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what efforts the Goverment are making to combat the trafficking in women from Moldova to the EU; and if he will make a statement. [108125]

    [holding answer 10 Apri12003.1: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Home Office (Beverley Hughes) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew MacKinley) on 5 March 2003, Official Report, column 1086W.Trafficking of women is one of the key areas which Reflex, the multi-agency response to organised immigration crime, seeks to address. Reflex targets organised criminal groups, who have in the past been involved with the trafficking of Moldovan women. However, trafficking is a key problem for Moldova that cannot be solved by one Government working alone. The London conference on Organised Crime in South Eastern Europe, which my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary co-hosted on 25 November 2002, and which Moldova attended, identified illegal immigration and human trafficking as key priorities for the international community to tackle. The UK is actively working with international partners, particularly the EU, but also the OSCE and loM for example, to ensure commitments made at the conference are fully implemented. The UK's own programmes, such as Reflex, will continue to form an integral element of these international efforts.

    North Korea

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on North Korea. [107692]

    My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had regular discussions with EU partners about North Korea's nuclear programmes, including at the General Affairs and External Relations Council, since the issue arose in October last year. The EU has clearly stated its willingness to contribute to a durable and lasting settlement for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

    Turks And Caicos

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received from the government of the Turks and Caicos regarding the presence of Tontons Macoutes among Haitian refugees to the Turks and Caicos. [107997]

    The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Government authorities have no evidence of any presence of Tontons Macoutes among the immigrant community from Haiti.

    War Crimes Tribunal

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to establish judicial tribunals to consider whether war crimes have been committed by (a) regular and (b) irregular fighters in Iraq. [107522]

    We will investigate any allegation of war crimes against UK forces in the present conflict. If we find evidence to justify prosecution, we will seek to bring those responsible to justice. As regards allegations of war crimes committed by members of the Saddam regime prior to this conflict, the Government is assessing, in conjunction with coalition partners, how these can best be investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

    Health

    Cannabis

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the percentage of boys aged 14 and 15 years using cannabis in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [108061]

    Since 1982, the Department of Health has commissioned a series of national surveys of secondary school children in England. The information available is shown in the tables.

    Percentage of pupils who have used cannabis in the last year: England
    Boys
    All aged 11–15Age 14Age 15
    1998111528
    1999111529
    2000131830
    20011141932
    20021,2143n/a3n/a
    Girls
    All aged 11–15Age 14Age 15
    199891324
    1999101425
    2000111625
    20011121930
    20021,2123n/a3n/a
    Boys and Girls
    All aged 11-15Age 14Age 15
    1998101426
    1999111528
    2000121728
    20011131931
    20021,2132031
    Total time spent in major A&E departments, NHS Trusts in England, 2002–03 October to December (Q3)
    YearQuarterSTHAOrgIDNameTotal attendances at major A&EPercentage of patients who spent less than four hours in A&E
    2002–033England 2,882,50078
    2002–033Q01RGQIpswich Hospital NHS Trust13,35780
    2002–033Q01RGRWest Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust8,94581

    Source:

    Department of Health dataset QMAE

    Status:

    Published 12 March 2003

    Total time spent in major A&E departments, NHS Trusts in England, 2002–03 July to September (Q2)

    Year

    Quarter

    Dataset

    STHA

    OrgID

    Name

    Total attendances at major A&E

    Percentage of patients who spent less than four hours in A&E

    2002–032QMAEEngland3,095,65077
    2002–032QMAEQ01RGQIpswich Hospital NHS Trust14,08381
    2002–032QMAEQ01RGRWest Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust10,24683

    Source:

    Department of ealth dataset QMAE

    Status:

    New dataset

    1 Estimates from 2001 onwards are not comparable with estimates from previous years because of the change in the way that drug use were measured.

    2 2002 estimates are preliminary results. Final estimates for 2002 are planned to be published in summer 2003.

    3 The percentage of pupils who have used cannabis in 2002 are not vet available by age group for boys and girls separately.

    Sources:

    "Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2000"—(Department of Health) published by The Stationery Office ISBN 0 11 322562 8 http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/ englandsmoking.pdf.

    "Drug use, smoking and drinking among young people in England in 2001"—(Department of Health) published by The Stationery Office ISBN 0 11 322591 1 http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/ sddsurvey01.pdf

    The Department of Health Statistical Press Notice "Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2002: Provisional Results" http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/spnmar03-smoking. pdf

    Accident And Emergency Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of patients waited over four hours in accident and emergency departments in acute care hospitals in Suffolk in each of the last four years. [108627]

    Information on the total time patients spend in accident and emergency from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge has been collected for publication by the Department of Health since July 2002. This information is now published quarterly. Figures for West Suffolk and Ipswich Hospitals are shown in the tables.

    Administration Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the total gross administration costs of his Department in each year from 2002–03 to 2005–06 (planned); and if he will make a statement. [103701]

    Estimated costs for the Department for 2002–03 are £351 million. Estimated costs for the years to 2005–06 will be included in the Departmental Report, to be published shortly, a copy of which will be placed in the Library.

    Blood Donors

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people gave blood in Buckinghamshire in a) 2001–02 and (b)2002–03. [106935]

    Figures showing the number of blood donors in Buckinghamshire, received from the National Blood Service, for 2001–02 and 2002–03 are shown in the table.

    Financial yearNumber of donors1Donations collected
    2001–0225,97031,361
    2002–0325,96330,258
    1 Donor numbers taken at the mid-year point.

    Cancer Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Government intend to extend the breast screening programme to women over the age of 70.[108300]

    There is little research evidence to show whether or not population screening in the over 70s is effective in reducing mortality. What little evidence there is suggests that screening in this way may not be effective and could even do more harm than good to some women. However, for some individual women there will always be a clear benefit in screening. Women aged over 70 will be offered free three yearly screening on request when the extension to women aged 65 to 70 is fully implemented, as are women aged 65 and over now. Women who have already participated in the programme will be informed of this right after the age of 70.The availability of screening for older women is widely publicised. In particular, the national health service breast screening programme has worked with Age Concern to encourage older women to request screening.

    Correspondence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters of (a) 14 November 2002, (b) 11 December 2002, (c) 7 January, (d) 6 February and (e) 5 March relating to her constituent Mrs. Heather Peto of Hoddesdon. [101932]

    [holding answer 10 March 2003]: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on Tuesday 8 April.

    Dementia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve services for people with dementia in the South West.[107392]

    [holding answer 8 April 2003]: The Government recognises the importance of ensuring that the needs of people with dementia and their carers are met. For that reason, the national service framework (NSF) for older people has set a standard and within this a service model that includes access to specialist care to ensure effective diagnosis, treatment and support. Local programmes are being developed as part of the NSF to improve services for older people with mental health problems, including dementia.In the south west peninsula, local specialist mental health, primary care and social services provide a range of services for people with dementia and their carers. This includes in-patient units for assessment and treatment, respite provision, community mental health teams, day services and support in the home and for carers. In Dorset and Somerset, there is capital investment to support mental health services, and partnerships have been developed with local community mental health groups. In Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, a planning and priorities framework target on mental health and older people has been included in local delivery plans.

    Departmental Annual Report

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the 2002 annual report of the Department will be published. [107872]

    The spring 2003 Departmental reports are due to be published between 28 April and 16 May 2003. We plan to publish our Departmental Report during this period.

    Endometriosis

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve training on the recognition and treatment of endometriosis; and where centres of excellence in endometriosis will be located. [107891]

    We are determined to improve the awareness of endometriosis and training of general practitioners, as the first point of contact for women with this condition. Departmental officials are working with the National Endometriosis Society (NES) and the Simply Holistic Endometriosis (SHE) Trust to see if a robust application can be drawn up for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to develop clinical guidelines on endometriosis for general practitioners. This is still at an early stage and there are many calls on the services of NICE as we take forward national health service reforms on a broad front.NICE is currently undertaking a referral practice project on advice to general practitioners about referring common conditions, the results of which may give us an effective way of offering referral guidance on endometriosis.

    Specialist clinics that treat advanced cases of endometriosis have been developed locally in response to need rather than being organised nationally. Departmental officials have discussed issues around centres of excellence with the NES and other organisations and will continue working with them to see whether further work is appropriate.

    Erectile Dysfunction

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent in each of the last five years on awareness campaigns material relating to erectile dysfunction; and if he will make a statement. [108154]

    The Department has not produced any awareness campaigns material relating to erectile dysfunction over the last five years.However the Department's booklet "Life Begins at 40— Health Tips for Men" published in 1998, contains information on impotence and its causes. The booklet is available form national health service organisations or direct from the health literature line—telephone: 0800 555 777.

    Haemophilia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the underspend was on last year's budget for recombinant clotting factor for haemophilia patients in West Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust. [107959]

    I have been advised by West Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust that during the 2002–03 financial year, as part of a consortium commissioning arrangement, West Gloucestershire has incurred costs of £598,000, of which £512,000 relates to recombinant products, against estimated expenditure of £696,000 (based on costs in 2001–02).Expenditure can vary significantly between financial years based on the number of patients receiving treatment, the number of units of blood products provided, and the costs of the products themselves.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what factors are preventing targets for the required amount of recombinant clotting factor for haemophilia patients being met; [107964](2) what the budget is for 2003–04 to provide recombinant clotting factor for haemophilia patients. [107962]

    Haemophilia patients up to the age of 21–22 are already receiving recombinant clotting factors. Extra funding will begin the process of extending these products to the remaining haemophilia patients aged over 21–22. The extra funding has been allocated over three years. In 2003–04, there is £13 million available.We are working with key stakeholders including the Haemophilia Society, clinicians, primary care trusts and others to put in place a strategy to roll out access to these products. We aim to begin the roll out as soon as possible.

    Health And Social Care Act

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health who is responsible for ensuring that consultations by primary care trusts are in accordance with section 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001; and if he will make a statement. [107567]

    Strategic health authorities ensure that primary care trusts have arrangements in place for involving and consulting patients and the public. Overview and scrutiny committees of local authorities, under section 7 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, will require national health service organisations to consult them on any proposal for a substantial development or variation of health services (these regulations will eventually take the place of Community Health Council Regulations).This is contained in the policy guidance, "Strengthening Accountability: Involving Patients and the Public", published in February 2003. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.

    Hospital-Acquired Infection

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS patients from the Buckingham constituency contracted hospital-acquired infections in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001. [107158]

    In the period April 2001 to March 2002, there were 48 cases of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemias in the Buckinghamshire area. These figures were published in the Communicable Disease Report (CDR) Weekly on 20 June 2002.More detailed information is available on the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) website, which can be accessed at: www.phls.co.uk

    Illegal Meat Imports

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role his Department has played in assessing bacteriological samples of illegally imported meat products for the purposes of protecting public health. [108915]

    I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that, whilst it does not have a role in assessing bacteriological samples of illegally imported meat, it has advised local authorities, who are responsible for enforcement of imported food and food safety legislation, that all illegally imported food products, including meat, should be removed from the human food chain. Such food is destroyed and there is no requirement for laboratory examination to identify micro-organisms or toxins.The United Kingdom organisations involved in the collection of foodborne disease data are not aware of any links between illegally imported meat products and outbreaks of foodborne disease in humans.

    Infectious Diseases

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the new national strategic action plan to bring (a) TB and (b) other key infectious diseases under control. [105441]

    The tuberculosis action plan is currently being finalised and will be published shortly. The other key infectious diseases action plans will be published within the next few months.

    Local Exercise Activity Pilots

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what decision-making processes were adopted on determining the outcomes of the local exercise activity pilots; [106499](2) what criteria were used to determine the winning local exercise activity pilot in Yorkshire. [106498]

    The overall aims and objectives of the local exercise action pilots (LEAP) programme were included in the original invitations for 'expressions of interest', sent by regional directors of public health to primary care trusts (PCTs) within neighbourhood renewal fund areas. The criteria regarding target groups, location, partnership working and innovative practice were highlighted throughout the application process and in the assessment guidance to regions. The criteria were applied to the decision-making process, both at the 'expression of interest' stage and, again, once the bids were fully worked up. PCTs completed a structured application form, which asked for further details under the headings of the criteria and some additional contextual information such as the local evidence base and their monitoring and evaluation framework.Following initial expressions of interest, 31 short-listed PCTs submitted full applications, which were assessed by regional panels, led by public health colleagues and representatives from the funding partners, Sport England and the Countryside Agency.Central to the assessment process was the involvement and commitment of the regions. The regional panels were best placed to assess the individual applications. Their recommendations were then reviewed by the national management group. This consisted of the Department of Health, Sport England, the Countryside Agency and the Local Government Association. The role of the management group was to ensure the nine pilots selected provided a national cross section, in terms of target audiences, locations, range of partners and innovative interventions.The management group was in agreement with the recommendations made by the regional panels.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many local exercise activity pilot bids secured private sector partners; and how many secured private sector contributions of over £50,000; [106500](2) if he will list the successful local exercise activity pilots, indicating in each case

    (a) the health deprivation indexes of the relevant populations, (b) the partner organisations engaged, (c) the non-health funding levered in, (d) the number of general practitioner referral schemes created, (e) the non-health objectives to be achieved and (f) the health benefits to be achieved. [106497]

    A list of the successful local exercise activity pilots (LEAP) with the health benefits to be achieved, the number of general practitioner referral schemes created and the main partner organisations engaged, has been placed in the Library.All of the pilots are located within neighbourhood renewal areas. As such they are among the 50 most deprived on at least one of the six district level measures in the Indices of Deprivation 2000 or on at least one of the four measures of the old Index of Local Deprivation.Two of the pilots (East of England–Great Yarmouth and Yorkshire and Humber–North Kirklees) secured private sector partners. The private sector contributions in both cases were less than £50,000.The main focus of the LEAP is upon health objective. However, all of the successful pilots anticipate additional benefits that extend beyond health outcomes. Each pilot site has identified the respective national service framework and planning and priorities framework targets that it will address and the associated health benefits.

    Nhs Treatments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many abortions were performed by the national health service in 2002. [108667]

    Data for abortions performed in England and Wales in 2002 will not be available until the autumn.In 2001, out of the 176,364 abortions performed on residents of England and Wales, 76,166 were performed by the national health service. In addition, 58,445 abortions were performed by the independent sector under NHS contract.

    Press Office

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people are employed in his Department's press office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. [108393]

    The Department employs 30 people in its Media centre. 23 of those employed are press officers, and seven are support staff.Detailed information on the number of press officers employed by the Department during the financial year 1997–98 was provided in Appendix II of the report "The Government Information and Communications Service" (HC 770) published by the Select Committee on Public Administration on 29 July 1998. Copies are available in the Library. However, no specific figures are kept for the number of support staff within the media centre.

    Ssri Drugs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the inquiry into SSRI drugs will recommence; and what measures will be taken to ensure the impartiality of the investigating committee. [108010]

    The appropriate membership of the new Committee on the Safety of Medicines expert group on the safety of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) is currently being considered in light of the further work that is required, as well as further legal advice on interests in the particular circumstances of this class review. This review remains a high priority and will recommence as soon as the membership of this expert group has been finalised.Members of the Medicines Act advisory committees such as the CSM are required to follow a code of practice relating to declarations of interests in the pharmaceutical industry. The code provides for the cases in which interests must be declared and when members with certain interests may not take part in proceedings. The provisions of the code will be taken into account when the new CSM expert group is appointed and the members will be required to comply with the code.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that the new Committee on Safety of Medicine inquiry into selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs takes into account the experience of patients. [108315]

    The new Committee on Safety of Medicines expert group which is being appointed to further review of the safety of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) will consider the current available evidence relating to the safety of SSRIs, particularly in relation to suicidal behaviour and withdrawal reactions. The panel will be taking into account patients' views and experiences during this review.

    Home Department

    Criminal Records Bureau

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what forecasts his Department made of the number of Criminal Records Bureau basic disclosures that would have been sought in the (a) first and (b) subsequent years of operation by members of the public. [102841]

    In the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Corporate and Business Plan published in April 2001 the forecast was for 2.8 million Disclosures in 2002–03. In the Plan published in April 2002, the forecasts for basic disclosures were 2.8 million in 2002–03 and 3.5 million in 2003–04.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his statement of 27 February 2003, Official Report, columns 32–36WS, on the Criminal Records Bureau, what estimate he has made of the number of basic disclosures that will not be issued following indefinite postponement of basic disclosures. [101017]

    Domestic Violence

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to bring forward proposals to strengthen the law against domestic violence. [108231]

    A consultation paper, setting out proposals to prevent domestic violence, provide increased support to victims and bring more perpetrators to justice, will be published this year. The paper will build on the initial consultation on domestic violence in the "Justice for All" White Paper published last year. It will aim to generate a response from the public, voluntary sector and others, to ensure the widest possible agreement on what needs to be done to prevent and tackle domestic violence.

    Immigration And Nationality Directorate

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants' files officials at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate were unable to locate in 2002. [107827]

    The information is not available in the format requested. File tracking systems indicate that at present 0.3 per cent. of a total file holding of approximately four million is unaccounted for, either wholly or in part. A range of measures including additional training and targeted exercises to locate files and update records is being pursued to reduce this number.

    Justice Gap Initiative

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the targets set for each part of the criminal justice system under the Narrowing the Justice Gap initiative; and if he will make a statement. [107308]

    The Public Service Agreement target to bring 1.2 million recorded offences to justice by 2005–06 applies to the criminal justice system in England and Wales as a whole. As a first step to delivering that target, each Local Criminal Justice Board has been set a 'Narrowing the Justice Gap' target for 2003–04 to increase the number of offences brought to justice in its area by five per cent. compared with the area's performance in 2001–02.

    Metropolitan Police

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to provide additional funding for the Metropolitan Police in order to meet the exceptional requirements for security in the capital arising from the war in Iraq and associated terrorist threats. [106105]

    [holding answer 31 March 2003]: Additional funding of £47 million will be made available to the Metropolitan Police in 2003–04 as part of their settlement to provide an enhanced counter-terrorism policing capability in the capital. This funding will allow the Metropolitan Police to continue to support the additional 689 officer posts and 112 supporting civilian posts which were funded in 2002–03. These officers will be deployed across a range of activities associated with security and counter-terrorism. A further £15 million is being allocated in 2003–04 to fund 500 Community Support Officers. The extra funding referred to is in addition to normal and pre-existing funding streams for security and counter-terrorism work. This is in addition to the increase of 5.2 per cent. in police grant for the Metropolitan Police for 2003–04.

    National Insurance

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost will be to public funds in 2003–04 of the rise in national insurance contributions on the salary bill of his Department. [107911]

    It is estimated that the changes to employers' national insurance contributions announced in last year's Budget will increase pay costs on average by 0.7 per cent. this year.

    Prisons

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) unconvicted and (b) convicted unsentenced prisoners are held in prisons in England and Wales; and how many have been held for (i) more than three months and (ii) more than six months. [107304]

    On 28 February 2003 there were 7,719 untried prisoners and 5,253 convicted unsentenced prisoners held in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales.On 30 June 2001 there were 6,800 untried prisoners; 1,200 had been received on remand more than three months up to and including six months previously; 650 had been received on remand more than six months previously.On 30 June 2001 there were 4,300 convicted unsentenced prisoners; 750 had been received on remand more than three months up to and including six months previously; 500 had been received on remand more than six months previously. The time spent on remand by convicted unsentenced prisoners includes any time spent on remand as an untried prisoner.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many mothers in prisons in England and Wales have responsibility for babies (a) under nine months old and (b) under 18 months old and are not in mother and baby units; and if he will make a statement. [107805]

    Mothers in prison in England and Wales, with children under 18 months old who are not.accommodated on mother and baby units normally transfer their parental responsibility to a nominated member of the family or, where necessary, to an alternative carer or social services. Information is not available on the number of mothers in prison in this position.

    Probation Service

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) probation officers and (b) management staff work in probation services in Avon and Somerset. [107033]

    The information requested is as follows:

    Avon and Somerset
    2001–02Number of staff.1,2
    Probation officers154.8
    Management staff340.9
    Other staff261.3
    1 Numbers shown as whole time equivalents.
    2 Information shown taken at 31 December 2001–information for 2002–03 is currently being collected and is as yet unavailable.
    3Management staff include all staff at senior probation officer grade and above.
    Figures obtained from data collected for RDS Probation Statistics 2001.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many probation officers there are in (a) Sedgemoor and (b) West Somerset; and how many hours per week they work in those two areas. [107258]

    The information requested is as follows:

    (a) Avon and Somerset
    1,2Numbers of staff
    Probation OfficersProbation Service Officers
    Sedgmoor7.17.6
    West Somerset1.00.0
    1Numbers shown as whole time equivalents
    2Information collected as at 3 April 2003
    (b) The hours worked by probation staff in these areas are as follows:
    Hours per week
    Probation Officers137.5
    Probation Service Officers37.0
    1 Probation Officers generally work 150 hours over a 4 week period and therefore, 37.5 hours per week is given as an average.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training for probation officers is carried out in Somerset. [107259]

    Trainee probation officers are required to undertake the Diploma in Probation Studies which has been developed and is delivered through consortia of probation areas working with higher education institutions and NVQ assessment centres since 1998. The Diploma is a professional qualification, which confers probation officer status on successful trainees, subject to employment by a local probation board. It is an integrated programme of education and training that combines work and university based learning through a Community Justice NVQ level 4 award and an undergraduate degree. Trainee probation officers are appointed to probation areas following a rigorous recruitment and selection process and are paid a trainee salary. Programmes Leading to the Diploma in Probation Studies are normally completed within 24 months.Main grade probation officers in Avon and Somerset Probation Area are specifically trained for their specific functions. Training is not generic, but practitioner based. Therefore probation officers are trained in group working programmes, report writing and case management. Officers are also placed to work in prisons and hostels.Avon and Somerset develop their officers in all areas of public protection, including diversity training, race equality issues, risk assessment, working with sex offenders and child protection issues.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total number was of staff management of the probation service in Somerset in (a)2000–01, (b) 2001–02 and (c) 2002–03. [107260]

    The information requested is as follows:

    Avon and Somerset
    1,2Numbers of staff management
    (a) Avon

    2002–01
    (b) Somerset

    2002–01
    3(c) Avon

    & Somerset

    2001–02
    Senior Probation Officers10.07.933.8
    Area Manager0.00.00.1
    Assistant Chief Officer4.00.86.0
    Deputy Chief Officer0.02.00.0
    Chief Officer1.01.01.0
    Total15.011.740.9
    Note:
    Figures obtained from data collected for RDS Probation Statistics 2001.
    1Numbers shown as whole time equivalents
    2Information shown taken at 31 December
    3Information for 2002/03 is currently not available

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total budget is for the probation service in Somerset. [107261]

    Somerset does not have its own separate probation service. It is part of the Avon and Somerset Probation Area and has been allocated a budget of £15,975,000 by the Home Office for the financial year 2003–04.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further funds have been allocated since 30 November 2002 to probation areas in England and Wales for financial year 2003–04. [107387]

    [holding answer 8 April 2003]: Since 30 November 2002, a further £5.67 million has been provisionally allocated to probation areas in England and Wales for the financial year 2003–04. This is made up as follows:

    • £3.81 million—Approved Carry Forwards from 2002–03.
    • £1.0 million—Funding of additional property and pension costs.
    • £0.43 million—Funding to commission drugs treatment.
    • £0.42 million—Retained Probation Accommodation Grants.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether funds for the financial year 2003—04 have been re-distributed from the National Probation Directorate budget to probation areas since the announcement of additional funds in November 2002. [107388]

    [holding answer 8 April 2003]: Since 30 November 2002, a further £5.67 million has been provisionally allocated to probation areas in England and Wales for the financial year 2003—04 from the National Probation Directorate Budget. This is made up as follows:

    • £3.81 million—Approved Carry Forwards from 2002–03.
    • £1.0 million—Funding of additional property and pension costs.
    • £0.43 million—Funding to commission drugs treatment.
    • £0.42 million—Retained Probation Accommodation Grants.

    Secure Training Centres

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what financial penalties have been imposed on the contractors for (a) Hassockfield and (b) Medway Secure Training Centres in each financial year that the centres have been operating; and what the reason for each penalty was; [107291](2) what financial penalties have been imposed on the contractor for

    (a) Rainsbrook and (b) Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in each financial year that each centre has been operating; and what the reason was for each penalty in each case. [106909]

    Up to and including 31 March 2003, financial penalties reflecting contract failures by the Operating Contractor at each Secure Training Centre (STC) total £155,152 (Rainsbrook); £910,874 (Medway); and £74,572.08 (Hassockfield).These cover failure to meet the scheduled opening date of the STC, non-availability of trainee places and failure to deliver specified services.

    Security Service

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress the Security Service has made in releasing its archives into the public domain since 1 May 1997; and how many files from its archives have been transferred to the Public Records Office since 1 May 1997. [107396]

    The Security Service systematically reviews and, if appropriate, releases records in accordance with the criteria agreed with the Public Records Office and endorsed by the Advisory Council on Public Records. Since 1997, a total of 690 files, comprising 1,387 pieces (volumes) have been transferred to the Public Records Office. A further tranche of files are due for release at the end of May 2003.

    Violence Against Women

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding was given to the Rape Crisis Federation in each of the last five years for which information is available. [108160]

    The Home Office began providing core funding to the Rape Crisis Federation (RCF) in April 2001. In 2001–02 the Department paid a grant of £406,000 to RCF. In 2002–03 the Home Office offered £432,000, although in the event RCF only drew down £302,000 of this. The Department plans to offer a similar level of funding to the RCF during 2003–04, subject to need.

    In addition to this core grant, the Home Office has also been supporting RCF's development of a statistical database on rape and sexual assault. Funding for this project amounted to £21,477 in 2000–01; £60,306 in 2001–02; and £52,432 in 2002–03.

    Working Hours

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what policy on (a) core hours and (b) flexible working hours is operated by his Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which his Department is responsible. [107652]

    Hours for Home Office staff with full-time attendance are 41 hours for staff in the London pay area and 42 hours elsewhere, including meal breaks. Within the Prison Service, prison officer and related grades work 39 hours per week, exclusive of meal breaks, which are unpaid. Many staff who work full-time or part-time are able to work flexible hours. For a 'traditional' full-time worker, core hours are 10:00 until 11:30 and 15:00 to 15:45. In some Home Office agencies and non-departmental public bodies these hours may vary by 30-minutes/one hour, but in general are within the times stated.There are also a variety of flexible and 'nontraditional' working patterns available to Home Office staff. For example: part-time working, job sharing, home working and term-time working. An individual's working pattern is decided in conjunction with their local management to suit both the individual's preferences and the requirements of the office. Staff also now have the statutory right to request to work flexibly and there is a duty for managers to consider such requests seriously.

    House Of Commons Commission

    Health Checks

    To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if he will restore regular medical checks on the health of hon. Members by the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Service. [108318]

    The Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Service (OHSWS) is an advisory service provided by both Houses of Parliament. The OHSWS assesses the effects work has on health and offers specialist advice on all aspects of health and safety in the workplace.A medical screening service is offered to hon. Members and Peers on a three yearly rolling programme and an earlier appointment can be requested if required. This service has been provided without interruption for more than 10 years. Between June 2002 and March 2003 79 hon. Members have been through the screening process.

    International Development

    Hiv/Aids

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support she is giving to international efforts to tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS through (a) financial support and (b) the availability of medical treatments. [106760]

    My Department continues to give support to international efforts to tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS. In our bilateral programmes alone, expenditure on HIV/AIDS related work has increased from £38 million in 1997–98 to over £200 million in 2001–02. Major new investments include support for programmes in Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Russia, Ghana, China and India totalling over £350 million. We have pledged US$200 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and £30 million to the international AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Medical Research Council's Microbicide Development Programme. Considerable additional resources have also been committed to United Nations agencies and civil society organisations to help combat HIV/AIDS and to help people living with the disease across the developing world. We will continue to support health system strengthening and comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care, control and impact mitigation programmes.We are currently working intensively to improve access to affordable, new and existing medicines, including for HIV/AIDS, for poor people in developing countries. In November 2002, the Prime Minister launched the Report of the High Level Working Group on Access to Medicines. The Group brought together UK Government, and involved partners to facilitate widespread voluntary differential pricing of essential medicines for the poorer developing countries as the operational norm. The report proposes that pharmaceutical companies provide drugs for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria at near to cost of manufacture to the poorest countries, and my Department is working hard to achieve these ambitions. We also support the Global Fund whose primary role is to provide drugs and commodities for the prevention and treatment of AIDS, TB and Malaria and some associated health system strengthening.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment her Department has made of the humanitarian situation in Nasiriyah; and if she will make a statement. [108700]

    The International Committee of the Red Cross is extremely concerned about the situation of the civilian population in towns to the south of Baghdad including Nasiriyah, which have been the scene of heavy fighting. The ICRC no longer has access to Nasiriyah, following the destruction of a major highway bridge linking the capital to the south on 3 April. UNICEF report that a first convoy of water tankers is heading to Nasiriyah.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the total bill for post-war reconstruction of Iraq. [108908]

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development who will be in control of deciding what money is spent on the post-war reconstruction of Iraq; and what the Government's priorities are for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. [108909]

    DFID assistance on post-war reconstruction will support the international effort coordinated by the UN and the International Financial Institutions. Iraq's reconstruction needs will be substantial. It is too soon to determine specific allocations or areas of UK focus.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the Government's position is on transparency over oil revenues in a postwar Iraq. [108910]