Written Answers To Questions
Thursday 18 September 2003
To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to announce new appointments to the Committee on Standards in Public Life; and if he will make a statement. 
I am pleased to announce that I have appointed four new members to the committee.Sir Alistair Graham and Professor Hazel Genn will take up appointment from 1 October 2003 in succession to Ann Abraham, who stood down from the committee on appointment as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, and Professor Alice Brown, who resigned from the committee on appointment as the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.Patricia Hodgson and Brian Woods-Scawen will take up appointment from 1 January 2004 in succession to Frances Heaton and Sir Anthony Cleaver, who will both step down from the committee at the end of this year, on completion of their second terms of office.All four appointments are for three years in the first instance, and were made fully in line with the Guidance of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.I am very grateful to Ann Abraham, Alice Brown, Frances Heaton and Sir Anthony for their work on the committee and for the significant contribution they have made to standards in public life.
To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to meet the Prime Minister of Sweden. 
I expect to next meet Prime Minister Persson at the opening of the EU Intergovernmental Conference in Rome on 4 October.
To ask the Prime Minister what progress has been made on the Reform Agenda in the EU. 
Reforms which will be discussed in the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference include the creation of a full-time Chair for the European Council and streamlining of the Union's structure and decision making. The European Council agreed in Seville last year to reform the way it works so it can better set the EU's strategic agenda. Progress, albeit not yet enough, has been achieved in the economic reform agenda agreed at Lisbon. Significant reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy were made in June this year. Alongside these, the EU is implementing the changes agreed in the Treaty of Nice in order to incorporate 10 new members in May next year.
To ask the Prime Minister when the Iraq Communications Group has met since 1 September 2002; who the members of the group are; who chairs the group; and from which budget its resources are drawn. 
The Iraq Communications Group was formalised on 5 December 2002 and met on a weekly basis thereafter. Prior to that, its members met on an ad hoc basis. Meetings have become less frequent since the end of the conflict in Iraq. There have been approximately 19 meetings in total.Membership varies, but it would normally include the FCO, MOD, Cabinet Office and DflD. Alastair Campbell chaired the ICG, but chairmanship has now passed to the FCO. There were no specific resources allocated to the ICG
To ask the Prime Minister whether he communicated with all members of the Intelligence and Security Committee about the content of the September 2002 dossier on Iraq. 
The chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, with my approval, accepted an invitation from the Intelligence and Security Committee to brief all members on the content of the September dossier at their meeting on the morning of 24 September 2002.
To ask the Prime Minister what his reasons were for communicating with the chairman of only the Intelligence and Security Committee rather than Select Committees about the content of the September 2002 dossier on Iraq. 
In addition to the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, with my approval, briefed the chairmen of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees on the content of the September dossier. All three briefings took place on 19 September 2002. The leaders of the two main Opposition parties were briefed on the previous day.
To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish the intelligence assessment contained in the Joint Intelligence Committee report, "International Terrorism: War with Iraq", of 10 February. 
Joint Intelligence Committee intelligence assessments are exempt from disclosure under exemption l(a) and l(c) of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
To ask the Prime Minister what the Government's policy is on a Security Council resolution that would give a political involvement in Iraq's future to the Security Council. 
The Government believe that it is for the Iraqi people to determine their own political future. This view is shared by other members of the Security Council and was stated in Security Council Resolution 1483.
Joint Intelligence Conmittee
To ask the Prime Minister what official channels exist for members of the security services to flag up concerns over the interpretation of raw intelligence data to the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. 
There are established procedures by which the views of members of the intelligence and security agencies are relayed to the JIC. Before a paper is taken by the JIC, it is discussed at working level and then considered more formally during inter departmental meetings (called Current Intelligence Groups or CIGS) at which representatives reflect the agreed views of their agencies and Departments. If outstanding issues remain, staff are expected to raise the matter with their representative on the JIC who will bring it to the attention of the committee when appropriate. Additionally, staff in the security and intelligence agencies are able to take any concerns or grievances they have, and which they have been unable to resolve within their internal management chain, to the staff counsellor who acts as an independent adviser.
To ask the Prime Minister if he will receive an official visit from the Prime Minister of Mongolia. 
The Mongolian Prime Minister, Mr. Nambaryn Enkhbayar, will visit the UK as a guest of Her Majesty's Government from 23–25 October this year.
Sweden (Euro Referendum)
To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister of Sweden on the result of the Swedish euro referendum; and if he will make a statement. 
I am in regular touch with Prime Minister Persson on a range of issues. We spoke most recently on 12 September.We respect the decision made by the people of Sweden on 14 September. The UK policy remains as before as I set out in my answers to the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) at Prime Minister's Questions on 17 September 2003,
Official Report, columns 851–52.
Minister For Women
To ask the Minister for Women what steps the Government are taking to encourage more women to start up small and medium-sized enterprises. 
The Government are committed to creating an environment and a culture that encourages more women to start or grow businesses and provides the necessary help and support. This: is why we launched a national Strategic Framework for Women's
Enterprise in May this year to provide a co-ordinated and long-term approach to the development of women's enterprise.
We are now working with our partners nationally and in the regions to take forward the recommendations of the Framework.
We are, for example, already engaged with regional development agencies, the Business Link Network and women's enterprise networks to ensure that the need of enterprising women everywhere are properly met.
Information And Communications Technology
To ask the Minister for Women what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on strategies to increase the number of women entering the information and communications technology profession; and if she will make a statement. 
The DTI and DfES are working together to reverse the under-representation of women in ICT. I announced in April a new strategy to improve the participation of women in science, engineering and technology careers. The Government Skills Strategy is creating new opportunities for women to develop the skills they need.
To ask the Minister for Women what plans she has to increase funding to women's refuges. 
The Government are committed to increasing the full range of accommodation options for victims of domestic violence, including more refuges and better help to support victims to stay in their own homes if appropriate. The Government is investing through the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister £8.9 million this financial year in refuges provision and the Housing Corporation has allocated an additional £9.9 million.
To ask the Minister for Women how many questions directed to her remain unanswered. 
Of those questions tabled for answer up to and including 17 September 2003, there is one question remaining unanswered.
To ask the Minister for Women what steps she is taking to encourage more women to apply for public appointments. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has set a target of between 45 to 50 per cent, women in public appointments made by our Department. This target is supported by a number of initiatives my right hon. Friend has led over the past two years; for example, a national outreach campaign targeted at over 2,000 women from diverse backgrounds. These women are well represented at local and regional level, and have many skills needed to be successful when applying for national appointments.
Our Department also produced a practical guide to enable others to carry on this outreach work and over 3,000 have been distributed. As part of the outreach programme, we have also commissioned research to learn more about what barriers women face when applying for public appointments.
Trade And Industry
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent reports she has received on the impact of trends in manufacturing output in the UK upon the economy in the south-east. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State receives regular reports from a variety of sources on manufacturing output at both the national and regional level.
Coal Industry Investment Aid Scheme
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she expects the first payments to be made under the Coal Industry Investment Aid Scheme. 
Applications for first period aid are being assessed at the moment. First payments to successful projects will be made as soon as possible after the decisions have been made.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with
|6 March 2002||Interim InjunctionCMARS||Planet Telecom plc192enquiries.com Ltd.Peter HutcheonJohn Tonge|
|30 May 2002||Final InjunctionCMARS||Data Protection Agency Services Ltd.Michael Sullivan|
|25 June 2002||Interim InjunctionCMARS||DPARS Ltd.Gary McNeish(both also trading as Data Protection Act Registration Service)|
|10 July 2002||Court Order(Stop Now Orders (EC Directive)Regulations 2001)||John Christopher InesonBlake Hamilton Ltd.Property Associates (UK) Ltd.|
|22 July 2002||Final InjunctionCMARS||Planet Telecom picPeter HutcheonJohn Tonge|
|12 November 2002||Final InjunctionCMARS||DPARS Ltd.Gary McNeish(both trading as Data Protection Act Registration Service)|
|7 August 2003||Interim Injunction CMARS||Christopher Yewdall|
Manufacturing Advisory Service
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what analysis has been conducted of the effect of the Manufacturing Advisory Service on small and medium-sized companies. 
We receive regular reports of the impact of the Manufacturing Advisory Service on the companies it helps, most of whom are SMEs. These the Inland Revenue on the taxation position of small businesses run by married couples. 
The DTI has regular contact with the Inland Revenue on the taxation of small businesses generally including those run by married couples.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further measures she is planning to prevent the publication of misleading advertising; and if she will list those advertisers issued with court orders in each year since 2000 to prevent the continued publication of misleading advertising. 
Non-broadcast advertising is controlled mainly by self-regulation under which the Advertising Standards Authority is responsible for ensuring compliance with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing. Providing legislative backing to the Code is the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988, which empowers the Office of Fair Trading to investigate complaints about misleading advertisements, and where necessary, to seek injunctions against further publication. OFT also have powers under the Enterprise Act (previously under the Stop Now Orders (EC Directive) Regulations 2001) to take action against misleading advertising that harms the collective interests of consumers. These powers are shared by Trading Standards Services. I have no plans to introduce any further measures in relation to misleading advertising.During the period 2002–03, OFT obtained written assurances/undertakings in 25 cases. OFT obtained no Court Orders in 2000 or 2001. Court Orders obtained during 2002–03 were as follows:reports are very impressive. We are seeing substantial improvements in the productivity of companies that are taking advantage of its in-depth consultancy service.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the latest figures are for coverage by broadband in (a) urban and (b) rural areas. 
Some 80 per cent, of UK households have access to a mass-market broadband solution targeted at residential or small business customers. The most recent statistics giving the breakdown for urban and rural areas are from June 2003. At that point national coverage was 76 per cent., urban and suburban areas, 92 per cent. and rural areas, 28 per cent.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under what circumstances chemicals banned for use in the UK can be manufactured in this country and exported outside the EU. 
I have been asked to reply.There is no absolute prohibition on the export to non-EU countries of chemicals banned for use in the UK.However, arrangements to ensure that recipient countries are aware of the potential hazards of imported chemicals are provided by EC Regulation 304/2003 (copy in the Library). This regulation implements the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade. The PIC procedure gives importing countries the opportunity to refuse, or apply conditions to, imports of certain dangerous chemicals.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information her Department gathers on the placement of contracts with United Kingdom companies by (a) US and (b) US/UK business partnerships; and if she will make a statement. 
This information is not collected in this form.
Consumer Credit Legislation
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will set out her timetable for reforming consumer credit legislation. 
I intend to publish a White Paper on consumer credit this autumn. This will include the timetable for reforming consumer credit legislation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the extent of infringement of copyright t in the downloading of music from the internet; and what further action she proposes to prevent it. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson), on 15 September 2003, Official Report, columns 538–39.
Customs And Excise
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has in cases where Her Majesty's Customs and Excise seize imported goods for inspection to limit recovery of their costs to businesses which are subsequently found to be importing counterfeit and illegal goods. 
The Department has no plans to seek changes to the EC Regulation applying to seizure of counterfeit and pirate goods at the border which governs activity in this area. The policy in and operation of this Regulation is for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, which in turn, is the responsibility of my colleagues in the Treasury.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many licensed debt collectors operate in the UK; how many complaints have been received regarding the conduct of debt collectors, in each year since 2000; how many complaints have been upheld in each year since 2000; how many debt collectors have been banned from practising in each year since 2000; and if she will place in the Library a list of banned debt collectors. 
The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for licensing and investigating complaints regarding debt collectors and other bodies involved in the consumer credit market.The current consumer credit licence categories do not distinguish between debt collection and certain other forms of licensed lending. However, a recent survey by the Credit Services Association, a major trade body for the sector, suggests there are approximately 400 debt collection businesses in the UK, 206 of whom are its members.Separate debt collection complaint data have not been recorded over the full period in question.In January 2003, the OFT set up a specialist team to deal with complaints regarding debt collection; issuing debt collection guidance in July 2003, which sets out practices affecting fitness to hold a consumer credit licence. There are currently 82 complaints under investigation.In 2000, the OFT issued 20 debt collectors with notices that it was minded to revoke, refuse or vary licences; 10 in 2001 and five in 2002 to March 2003.Data on adverse determinations have not been recorded over the period in question by industry type, and it is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of debt collectors that have had their licence refused or revoked at this time.Where there is insufficient evidence to recommend formal action, the OFT also issues warning letters to companies. This activity helps to secure compliance and enables prompt action if future evidence of breaches is received.Data on how many debt collectors have been banned in each year since 2000 have not been collated and this could be done only at disproportionate cost. The Consumer Credit Public Register includes details of everyone holding a licence, everyone who has applied for one, or had one revoked, suspended or varied. It is held by the Office of Fair Trading, and the public can search the public register by telephone or visit in person.
Electricity Supply (Subsidies)
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what public subsidies have been made available to electricity suppliers in each year since 1983. 
There have been no public subsidies to electricity suppliers since privatisation. I am not aware of any subsidies before privatisation, but confirmation of this could be made only at disproportionate cost.The Government have, of course, made a credit facility available to British Energy while the company agrees and implements its restructuring plan.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent assessment she has made of the attitude of the developing countries to the EU's Singapore issues. 
The EU does not have exclusive ownership of the Singapore issues, all WTO Members agreed to include it as part of the Doha Development Agenda in 2001.Although we have supported the EU in its mandate on the Singapore issues, we have always made clear that concerns of developing countries need to be taken into account—especially in respect of negotiating capacity. I myself have for some time made it clear, both publicly and privately, that while I strongly support more foreign direct investment going to developing countries, it is not a priority of this government to launch negotiations on an investment agreement.At Cancun, the Commission were made aware of developing country concerns on the proposed WTO agreements on investment and competition. On the final day of the Ministerial Conference, Commissioner Lamy, with the backing of the EU delegations, offered to drop the proposal to start negotiations on WTO investment and competition agreements completely.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures her Department is taking to prevent the exploitation of foreign workers on low wages by (a) British companies and (b) foreign companies doing business in the United Kingdom. 
The minimum wage was introduced to help prevent the exploitation of workers. It applies to nearly all workers with contracts in the UK, regardless of their nationality or that of their employers, and it is enforced by the Inland Revenue on this basis.In addition, where the DTI becomes aware of a potential problem in connection with an employment agency, steps are taken to address it. For example, when DTI became aware of allegations about the mistreatment by agencies of Portuguese agricultural workers in the UK, contact was made immediately with the Portuguese Government to offer help in ensuring Portuguese agricultural workers en route to the UK are fully aware of their rights under EU and British law and know where to go to present any evidence of improper practice or abuse. UK and Portuguese officials and the Citizens Advice Bureau are currently working together on the production and distribution in the UK and Portugal of a leaflet in Portuguese giving guidance on employment rights under UK and EU law, and advising of sources of support and advice for workers.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are in place to ensure that holiday companies provide accurate information about the holidays they provide; and if she will make a statement. 
Package tour organisers or retailers are required under The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 to provide specific information on various elements of a package holiday. Failure to provide such information is a criminal offence. Tour operators who provide misleading information in their brochures may also be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.In addition, members of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) are required to meet certain standards, which are specified in the ABTA Code of Conduct.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2003, Official Report, column 127W, on Iraq, if she will press the European Commission to include goods from Iraq in the Generalised System of Preferences as soon as possible. 
The UK has made representation to the European Commission on Iraq's eligibility under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), conveying the UK Government's wish to re-instate GSP in Iraq as soon as possible.A key requirement for GSP to be re-instated in Iraq is for administrative co-operation to be restored in the country. The situation with respect to authorities in Iraq continues to be unclear. The UK Government will continue its dialogue with the commission to move this matter forward.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many contracts have been secured by British companies in connection with the reconstruction of Iraq; and what their approximate value is. 
[holding answer 11 September 2003]: According to the latest information we have from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq, British companies have so far secured 18 per cent, of sub contracts awarded by Bechtel, worth approximately £10 million. UK companies have also secured contracts from other organisations funding reconstruction projects in Iraq but we do not have details of the value of these contracts.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to improve the skills base of manufacturing industry. 
My Department published a manufacturing strategy in May 2002; it sets out seven areas of activity for manufacturing success of which one was raising skills and education levels.My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and for Education and Skills have since set out in the Governments Skills Strategy launched in July 2003 how we are putting employers centre stage, ensuring they have the right skills to support their businesses and organisations.This Skills Strategy applies to the manufacturing industry as to other industries and all areas of UK business.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the Cabinet Office on updating Schedule 2 of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 to make OFCOM subject to the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Commissioner; and when an appropriate order will be made to amend Schedule 2 of the Act. 
[holding answer 8 September 2003]: The intention was to make an order by the date on which the Communications Act received Royal Assent. In the event, however, the process could not be completed before the summer recess, owing to the need for various interested parties to be consulted on certain points of detail that arose during drafting. Arrangements are now in hand to make an order in good time to ensure that OFCOM is within the Parliamentary Commissioner's jurisdiction before it acquires its new functions.
Office For Civil Nuclear Security
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many requests for information on the Office for Civil Nuclear Security were received from the media between April 2002 and March 2003; how many requests were refused; what the reasons for refusal were in each case; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department does not keep this information.
Oil Pipelines (Caucasus)
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she discussed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the environmental impacts of the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan Oil Pipeline Project; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 16 September 2003]: My officials are in regular contact with DEFRA officials regarding the ETC projectCover will only be provided if ECGD are satisfied that the relevant environmental, social and human rights impacts have been addressed and that the financial and project risks are acceptable.
Omega Site (Warrington)
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the future impact on employment in Warrington of the development of the Omega site; and if she will make a statement. 
Omega South is one of the North West Development Agency's strategic regional sites. It has the potential to create some 12,000 jobs and it is essential that a development of this scale and significance is consistent with both national and regional planning policies.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many questions directed to her remain unanswered. 
Of those questions tabled for answer up to and including 17 September, there are 90 questions remaining unanswered.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff were employed in personnel administration within the Department in each year since 1997. 
Given the changes to the structure and organisation of the Department since 1997, I am unable to provide comparative figures immediately. I will write to the hon. Member giving her what information we have available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the closure of the post office at Priors Park, Tewkesbury. 
[holding answer 15 September 2003]: Consultation on a proposal to close Priors Park post office was announced by Post Office Ltd. on 4 July. Their decision to proceed with closure was notified on 22 August, and I understand that the office is due to close on 29 September.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on post office closures in the south-east. 
Post office closures are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. I understand from them that in the year to end March 2003, there were net closures of 39 post-offices in south-east England, of which 19 were under the urban reinvention programme. In the quarter to end June 2003, there were 56 net closures of which 50 were under the urban reinvention programme.
Property Ownership Rights
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment her Department has made of the impact of delays in establishing property ownership rights in developing countries upon British companies trading in such countries. 
We have not made an assessment in these terms.
Renewable Obligation Certificates
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to reform the arrangements for renewable obligation certificate trading, with specific reference to the protection of traders affected by losses caused by a supplier going out of business. 
I am aware of the concerns of traders likely to affected by the potential shortfall in the Renewables Buy-Out Fund, as a consequence of TXU's going into administration.However since the extent of any possible shortfall will not be clear until 1 October, it is too early at this stage to assess the impact on the renewables market or to assess whether there is a need to make any changes to the renewables obligation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to ensure compliance under arrangements for renewable obligation certificate trading. 
Under the Renewables Obligation Order 2002, Ofgem have responsibility for monitoring compliance with the Renewables Obligation. Licensed electricity suppliers must demonstrate compliance to Ofgem by 1 October either through redeeming Renewable Obligation Certificates or paying the buy out price.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the value of investments in Thorp. 
An assessment of the economics of Thorp was published in 1993 as part of the public consultation process concerning operation of the plant. This assessment may be found in the Library of the House. It states that the costs associated with constructing Thorp amounted to £5.5 billion. It also explains that the contracts for the baseload period of the plant's operation provide for recovery of full capital costs as well as the on-going operating costs and provide for the operator, BNFL, to make a profit. Details of BNFL's financial performance—including the performance of its spent fuel management business—are provided in the company's annual reports which are also in the Libraries of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received from the Irish Minister for the Environment on projected closure dates for the Thorp nuclear plant at Sellafield. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry received a letter dated 26 August from Ireland's Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government which seeks information about the future operation of Thorp in the light of extensive recent media reports on this matter in Ireland.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what powers there are to restrict young adults in borrowing large amounts of money in unsecured loans; and what plans she has for further action to limit the amount of money young adults are allowed to borrow in unsecured loans; (2) whether financial services companies are required to assess a young adult client's ability to repay loans before allowing a loan; (3) how many people under 25 are being prosecuted for non-payment of loans. 
[holding answer 17 September 2003]: There are currently no powers to restrict the access of any individual over the age of 18 to credit.Lenders, who have signed up to voluntary codes of practice such as the British Banking Code or the Finance and Leasing Association Code, provide the majority of credit. These require them to assess a consumer's ability to repay any credit they are seeking to borrow. I intend to publish a White Paper on consumer credit this autumn, which will include proposals to require all lenders lend responsibly.Figures are not collated centrally for how many individuals are prosecuted for non-payment of loans and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
World Trade Negotiations
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to promote the interests of developing countries in world trade negotiations; and if she will make a statement. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made a statement to the House on Wednesday 17 September 2003, Official Report, columns 861–63 and I refer the hon. Member to that statement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she will make at Cancun with respect to improving property ownership structures and recognition in developing countries. 
[holding answer 16 September 2003]: The Government have always made clear that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) should provide real benefits for developing countries. We took the opportunity of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial talks in Cancun to press for progress in the various trade and development issues contained in the DDA.I refer my hon. Friend to the oral statement made in the House on 17 September.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether (a) the EU Commissioner and (b) she asked the Chairman to reconsider the closure of the WTO meeting at Cancun. 
I and a number of EU colleagues asked Commissioner Lamy at a meeting of the EU Council on Sunday to urge the Chairman to reconsider the closure of the conference. The EU along with other WTO members felt that with more time, it would have been possible to reach an agreement which would have benefited both developing and developed countries.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the United Kingdom tried to change the EU policy at the Cancun Summit in the light of the views of developing countries. 
The UK played a major role in supporting the EU's negotiating mandate at Cancun. We were able to use our particular links with Commonwealth countries and others to understand their concerns and to explain to them the EU position and vice versa. We and others were able to relay to the Commission the concerns which some developing countries had on some issues e.g. the Singapore issues. I myself have for some time made it clear publicly and privately that, while I strongly support developing countries receiving more foreign direct investment, it is not a priority of this government to launch negotiations on an investment agreement.It was Commissioner Lamy who took the decision, with agreement of all EU members states to drop the proposal to launch negotiations on the WTO agreements on investment and competition.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the United Kingdom delegation to the Cancun Summit departed from the EU line during the plenary sessions. 
No. We fully supported the EU position during the plenary sessions at Cancun.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she had with the EU Trade Commissioner during the course of the Cancun Summit. 
I met Commissioner Lamy at two European Councils. I also had informal discussions with him.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the cost to the UK economy of the recent collapse of the talks at the World Trade Organisation Fifth Ministerial in Cancun. 
The lack of progress at Cancun was disappointing, but it does not mean that the Doha Development Round of trade liberalisation is over.The benefits to developing and developed world economies from a successful round which achieves real liberalisation are considerable.A number of studies have attempted to quantify these gains. The size of the estimated gains vary significantly depending on, among other things, the scale of liberalisation assumed to be implemented, the timing of liberalisation and the range of benefits taken into account.These studies do not separately identify the effects on the UK economy, but they do suggest that the EU as a whole would benefit from trade liberalisation. A study by the European Commission
1 , for example, estimated the gains to the EU from a global 50 per cent. cut in
protection would be in the region of $92 billion. A reasonable assumption is that the gains to the UK would be roughly proportional to our share of EU GDP and external trade (around 17 per cent.). This would imply annual income gains in the region of $16 billion. Another study by Michigan University2 suggests that global elimination of trade barriers could increase EU incomes by as much as $500 billion. Again, assuming the UK gains proportionately, this could mean an annual boost to UK incomes of over $70 billion. The benefits would feed through gradually as liberalisation is implemented in many scenarios taking over a decade.
In addition, a successful round of trade liberalisation is likely to have a more immediate effect by providing a boost to global economic confidence. The scale of this benefit is impossible to predict but would certainly be considerable.
1 The Millennium Round: An economic appraisal by Nigel Nagarajan 1999.
2 "CGE Modelling and Analysis of Multilateral and Regional Negotiating Options" Drusilla Brown, Alan Deardoff and Robert Stern Michigan Discussion Paper number 468 2001.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her attendance at the Fifth World Trade Organisation Ministerial held recently in Cancun. 
I made a full statement to the House, on my attendance at the recent 5th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference held in Cancun, on Wednesday 17 September.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what reports he has received on prospective promoters in respect of (a) the Cliffe airport proposal and (b) other North Kent estuarial airport proposals. 
In response to "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East" consultation, a number of proposals for new airport capacity that are alternatives to, or variants of, options set out in the Government's consultation document, have been submitted. These include two sites in North Kent and the Marinair proposal for an airport on an island in the Thames estuary.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the identification and recommendation of airport sites for further development in the air transport White Paper will be based on (a) commercial viability and (b) availability of private sector funding to meet the full cost. 
We are currently analysing the many thousands of responses received to "the Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom" consultation. Ministers will take decisions based on the factual appraisal and views expressed by interested parties, which will help Ministers come to a view on what weight they should attach to different considerations, and how to balance these. Commercial and financial viability are considerations specified in the published SERAS appraisal methodology.
The Government intends to publish its conclusions in a White Paper later this year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date under the EU Directive 2003/30/EC Article 4 he is required to set a target for biofuel use in the UK by the end of 2005. 
The Directive must be implemented in full by 31 December 2004, but the European Commission has asked member states in advance of this to submit targets for biofuel use in 2005 by July 2004. We will be consulting stakeholders on possible UK targets in early 2004, before deciding on the UK targets.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many commercial flights were made from British airports in each of the last five years; and what percentage were (a) four hours or longer and (b) four hours or less. 
The available information is as follows:
|Commercial air transport movements1: United Kingdom|
|Number (thousand)||Short haul2||Long haul|
|1 Landings and take-offs of aircraft engaged in commercial air transport. Includes all scheduled movements (loaded or empty) and loaded charter movements, but excludes empty positioning flights.|
|2 Domestic flights, flights between the UK and Europe or North Africa, and flights to/from oil rigs.|
Civil Aviation Authority
Deep Vein Thrombosis
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek amendments to the Warsaw Convention to permit claims for compensation by air travellers who suffer deep vein thrombosis. 
The Warsaw Convention will be subject to no further amendment or reform. The 1999 Montreal Convention, which is due to come into force internationally later this year, will consolidate, update and eventually replace all previous international agreements on air carrier liability, including the 1929 Warsaw Convention.The purpose of the Warsaw Convention is to cover risks inherent to travelling by air, not damage occurring co-incidentally while in flight. For this reason, claimants must show that an "accident" had occurred. This question has been considered by the English High Court within the context of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and it concluded that such an occurrence does not fall within the accepted understanding of an "accident". I believe the legal framework for establishing liability to be satisfactory and that it is for the courts to decide specific cases within that framework.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last travelled by London Underground on official business. 
I last travelled by London Underground on official business on 17 September 2003.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what reports he has received from the Highways Agency about the options for widening the M6 motorway between junctions 11 and 20; and what arrangements he intends to make for public consultation on his plans for this widening. 
The Highways Agency is currently examining options for widening the M6 motorway. This has raised some complex issues and the Agency expects to bring forward further detailed advice early in 2004. Once a scheme has been approved for inclusion in the Targeted Programme of Improvements there would be further statutory and non-statutory procedures including consultation. In the meantime the Highways Agency has been liasing with both affected local authorities and with the Statutory Environmental Bodies in progressing their work.
Mayor Of London
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met the Mayor of London. 
Ministers have regular meetings with the Mayor at which a wide range of transport matters are discussed. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport last met the Mayor on 7 September at the Osiris II exercise at Bank station.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was paid to Microsoft in licensing fees by his Department and its agencies in each of the last three years; and how much has been budgeted for (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05. 
Since 2000 there have been two Machinery of Government changes affecting what is now the Department of Transport. As a result the number of staff has changed considerably. It is not possible to analyse the total cost of licensing to identify where the costs were incurred on behalf of what is now DfT. Therefore the figures given for DfT(c) reflect spend by the Department as it was at the time.The amount paid to Microsoft for the last three years is:
|Centre of the Department|
|Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency||n/a||459,900||489,400|
|Driving Standards Agency||7,900 over two years||81,000|
|Maritime and Coastguard Agency||0||0||291,000|
|Vehicle Certification Agency||3,170||3,260||9,380|
|Vehicle and Operator Services Agency|
|(Previously Vehicle Inspectorate and|
|Traffic Area Network)||100,000||100,000||136,400|
Budgets for spend in the current year, 2003–04, and future years are withheld on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorway service areas there are in England; and, of these, how many have CCTV cameras installed in public parking areas to guard against thefts of, and from, vehicles. 
There are 69 motorway service areas (MSAs) in England.Close Circuit Television coverage of the public parking areas is provided at 14 MSAs. Most MSA operators offer full CCTV coverage of the commercial areas of their sites. In instances where MSA operators are aware of a problem of theft from parked vehicles, particularly within the lorry compounds, they have taken separate action.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it a condition of all future licences to operate motorway service areas that CCTV cameras be installed in public parking areas. 
Motorway service areas (MSAs) are private sector enterprises, subject to the normal planning processes. It is for them to decide on the most appropriate form of security measures at each site. The Government do require certain minimum requirements as a condition of their signing and access from the motorway. It would be inappropriate for these to include a stipulation on how security at each site should be provided.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what analysis he has made of the air safety aspects of plans to develop Redhill Aerodrome, with special reference to provisions for missed approach procedures; and if he will make a statement; (2) what estimate he has made of the height above the M23 of incoming aircraft if the proposal to develop Redhill Aerodrome were to proceed. 
In response to "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East" consultation, a proposal for the development of Redhill aerodrome has been submitted. This proposal is being considered in the on-going analysis of responses to the consultation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much transport infrastructure maintenance cost the Government in each year from 1990 to 2003. 
Transport infrastructure maintenance is taken to encompass maintenance on Road and Rail only, and is detailed as follows.Table 1 shows the cost of maintenance from 1991–2002 road maintenance. Numbers are as detailed in the National Road Maintenance Condition Survey (NRMCS) annual report. These numbers are also given as cash prices.Rail figures are detailed in Table 1 for the years 1996–2003, and have been taken from the Railtrack 2001 Network Management Statement (2001), and the 2003 Network Rail Annual Return. These have also been shown in cash prices. It is important to note that these figures also may include non-Government expenditure, but it is not possible to disaggregate this out.Rail figures prior to 1996 are not immediately accessible and to obtain these numbers would present a disproportionate cost.
|Rail maintenance||2001–02 prices2||Cash prices2|
|2001–02 prices1||Cash prices1||Non-trunk roads||Trunk roads3||Non-trunk roads||Trunk roads3|
|1 1996–97 to 2000–01 taken from Railtrack 2001 Network Management Statement. 2000–01 to 2002–03 Cash prices taken from Network Rail 2003 Annual Return.|
|2 2001–02 prices taken from the National Road Maintenance Condition Survey (NRMCS) for road maintenance.|
|3 Including motorways.|
Us Warship Disposal
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of towing former US naval ships off the North East coast on their way to be broken up. 
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are aware of proposals to bring ships from the US reserve fleet to the UK for dismantling at a facility in Teesside.Accessible pollutants will be removed from the ships before transit, as required by the Basel Convention on the control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes. The MCA monitors the standards of vessels entering UK waters and co-ordinates any response to pollution outside of harbour areas via the National Contingency Plan for Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations. It is empowered to take action should any pollution incident occur within the UK Pollution Control Zone.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether UK agreement to a passage plan for the proposed tow of former US naval ships to the UK is required in advance of the vessels leaving the US. 
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is in close liaison with the US Government and the companies involved with these ships. A formal passage plan will be agreed prior to the ships leaving the US and will also be agreed with the French and Belgian Governments.
Vehicle Excise Duty
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intends to extend reduced rates of vehicle excise duty to cars converted to LPG/autogas that were registered before March 2001; and if he will extend the powershift programme of grants to cars that are more than five years old. 
Rates and structure of vehicle excise duty are a matter for the Chancellor in his budget. In deciding these rates he weighs a large number of social, economic, environmental and other factors.The Chancellor announced in Budget 2003 that the Government would be consulting stakeholders on how best to ensure that future support for road fuel gases continued to reflect environmental and other policy objectives, with a view to announcing decisions on future duty rates and other forms of support in the 2003 Pre-budget Report. A joint Department for Transport, Treasury and Customs and Excise consultation document "Road fuel gases and their contribution to clean low-carbon transport: Establishing a consistent and durable framework of Government support" discussed the issues and invited comments by 17 September. The Government are now considering the responses received.
Working Time Directive
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made with implementing the 48 hour working week for workers in the transport sector. 
On 1 August 2003, the Department of Trade and Industry implemented "The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2003". These apply the 48 hour average working week to non-mobile workers in the transport sector and drivers of vehicles subject to domestic drivers' hours rules in the road transport sector.Mobile workers who are affected by the EU drivers' hours rules, will be subject to the average 48 hour week from March 2005, under the sector specific road transport directive (2002/15/EC). The Department for Transport has consulted and received comments from key stakeholders in the road transport industry. We will also publish a partial regulatory impact assessment and consultation document shortly, on our plans to implement the directive into UK law.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the Government are doing to equip hospitals in Afghanistan. 
The Afghanistan Transitional Administration (ATA) has asked donors to concentrate on a few key areas of the reconstruction effort where they can have most impact. In response to this and after consultation with the ATA and other donors, the UK is concentrating on building the capacity of the Afghan Government, humanitarian aid and programmes to support the development of income generation.Healthcare is not currently one of DFID's focus areas in Afghanistan, and we are therefore not involved in equipping hospitals. Nevertheless, we have funded a consultant that has worked with the Ministry of Health on hospital management.We also fund Afghanistan's reconstruction effort through multi-lateral channels. The UK is the fourth largest donor to UNICEF and provided £44 million overall funding in 2002. We provide 19 per cent. of the European Union's £282 million package of reconstruction support for Afghanistan for 2003–04, of which £17.5 million:.s programmed for the health sector to help reduce infant and maternal mortality by providing a basic healthcare package. We are also contributing towards the World Bank's Afghanistan Health Sector Emergency Reconstruction and Development Project, which aims to help expand delivery of basic health services and works to ensure equitable access, particularly for women and children.Since April 2002, the European Commission has worked with the United States to rebuild 72 hospitals, clinics and women's healthcare centres, revise the national curriculum for midwives and vaccinate £4.3 million children against measles. Over 2003 and 2004, the EC will channel support through the Government to deliver health services to three million people and help to reduce the unacceptably high levels of child and maternal mortality.UNICEF has supported Emergency Obstetric Care services in 20 districts and refurbished Malalai hospital, the largest maternity hospital in Kabul, with 15,000 deliveries every year. UNICEF plans to launch other facilities in Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad to build up the maternal health infrastructure.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the Government is doing to help those suffering from AIDS and HIV in the developing world. 
The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the most important development challenges. In recognition of this DFID has increased HIV/AIDS related bilateral expenditure from £38 million in 1997–98 to over £270 million in 2002–03.
Intensive bi-lateral action on HIV/AIDS is under way including in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. At a global level, the UK Government makes significant contributions to support HIV/AIDS programmes of multilateral organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations in a coherent effort to combat this disease.
The UK has pledged US$280 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, up to the year 2008 and has committed £14 million to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and £16 million to the Medical Research Council's Microbicides Development Programme.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether there is a consensus among European partners on the proliferation of small arms in developing countries. 
Over the last five years European states, through the European Union and its accession countries, have consistently demonstrated a commitment to support efforts to tackle the proliferation of small arms in developing countries through continuing EU programmes. Currently these programmes are enacted as part of the Joint Action on the European Union's contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and uncontrolled spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), adopted on 12 July 2002 by the European Council.The EU aims to strengthen the efforts to reduce the availability and supply of SALW to areas of conflict or potential conflict, to contribute to the development of a range of international measures to limit the demand for SALW in such areas, and to help governments to cope with the problems these weapons cause.The EU currently supports programmes in Cambodia, in central America through the UN Regional Centre in Lima and in conjunction with UNDP in south eastern Europe (the South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse on Small Arms in Belgrade). EU supported projects in South Ossetia and Albania have recently been completed. In the last three years, the EU has committed around €7.5million to these programmes, through the Common Foreign and Security Policy Budget.In June 2003, EU member states agreed a Joint Position on brokering activities which requires members states to enact legislation to regulate activities of brokers, including brokering of small arms and light weapons.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what representations the Department has received about human rights violations relating to the construction of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline. 
DFID and other Government Departments have received representations from several international and local NGOs about the human rights implications of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. Officials have held meetings to discuss this issue with NGOs. We have also received correspondence from Members of Parliament and members of the public.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the latest discussions with regard to the use of public money via the (a) World Bank, (b) European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and (c) Export Credits Guarantee Department for the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. 
DFID's interest in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) project is as a shareholder in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group. As a shareholder, DFID has a responsibility to ensure that these institutions have properly assessed this project, including possible social and environmental impacts. EBRD and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group are currently carrying out their normal thorough screening and safeguards procedures on the project. Once these procedures are completed, it is anticipated that they will present formal project proposals to their Executive Boards for discussion. As is standard procedure, DFID will make its decision on how to vote on the BTC project once it has received these formal proposals.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, is responsible for the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD). ECGD is currently undertaking its due diligence process for the BTC project. The project sponsors are seeking cover from ECGD for the supply of UK goods and services, and for UK investments related to the project. Cover would only be given if the Department were satisfied that the relevant environmental, social and human rights impacts had been properly addressed, and that the financial and project risks were acceptable.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much assistance he gave to (a) Rwanda, (b) Uganda and (c) Angola in each of the last five years, broken down by subject under which the assistance was allocated; and if he will make a statement. 
DFID has a policy of focusing its resources in Africa. Rwanda and Uganda are both countries where we have strong development partnerships. We are currently developing our plans for Angola now that the war has ended there.
|Direct Budget Support||22,032,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||1,423,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||2,348,000|
|Direct Budget Support||18,586,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||1,488,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||741,000|
|Direct Budget Support||25,400,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||1,052,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||837,000|
|Direct Budget Support||10,000,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||784,000|
|Direct Budget Support||10,000,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||1,281,000|
|Direct Budget Support||17,500,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||13,846,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||5,736,000|
|Direct Budget Support||35,000,000|
|Project or Sector Aid.||13,974,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||4,563,000|
|Direct Budget Support||45,000,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||17,856,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||7,323,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||41,467,000|
|Direct Budget Support||16,000,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||5,910,000|
|Direct Budget Support||17,000,000|
|Grants & Aid in Kind||5,500,000|
|Project or Sector Aid||17,785,000|
|Grants & Other Aid in Kind||184,000|
|Grants & Other Aid in Kind||56,000|
|Grants & Other Aid in Kind||371,000|
|Grants & Other Aid in Kind||625,000|
|Grants & Other Aid in Kind||1,185,000|
Economic Activity Development
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of (a) the extent of extra-legal activity in developing countries and (b) the impact of extra-legal activity on economic development in these countries; and what assistance the Government are offering to increase legal economic activity in developing countries. 
We are not aware of any comprehensive assessment of the scale of extra-legal activity in developing countries. The impact of crime, in particular corruption, transnational organised crime and money laundering, is undoubtedly profound.The Department provides a wide range of support to developing countries to help them address these areas. These include developing strong enforcement action against corruption and money laundering, such as strong and effective anti-corruption agencies and financial intelligence units, and establishing the full range of necessary preventive measures, such as strengthening capacity for public sector budgetary and financial management, procurement, accounting and audit; reforming civil service management, enhancing public oversight through strengthened parliamentary committees, developing measures to reduce judicial corruption and supporting civil society to promote transparency and accountability in public life. Helping countries to develop sustained improvements in the climate for productive domestic and foreign investment and facilitating greater private sector development also forms an important part of the Department's work.We are pleased that negotiations for the United Nations Convention Against Corruption are nearing completion. This instrument will reflect a global consensus on the importance of tackling corruption and improving international co-operation, including the return of corruptly-acquired assets to the country of origin. The UK has played an active role in these negotiations.
Export Control Act
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 18 June 2003, Official Report, column 241W, on the Export Control Act, whether the Department made an assessment of how the secondary legislation on export controls would (a) affect demands on departmentally-funded projects and (b) affect stability in developing countries. 
A specific separate assessment was not undertaken but clearly a strengthening of controls on the trade in arms will reduce the availability of arms, which fuel conflicts, erode security and stability and undermine sustainable development, thereby making it easier for development goals to be reached.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent discussions the Department has had with the World Health Organisation regarding the availability of vaccinations for immunisation programmes in developing countries. 
The Department of International Development (DFID) works closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) across a wide range of health issues. This includes working with WHO on the generic issues of improving access to health commodities and to supporting specific programme needs. DFID was also until recently a Board member of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). GAVI is a public-private partnership focused on increasing children's access to vaccines in poor countries and discussions focus on issues around the availability of vaccinations in developing countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF also participate in that Board. The UK contribution to GAVI lasts till 2005 and amounts to £35 million.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the conditions of the temporary prison outside Baghdad International Airport run by the coalition forces. 
DFID has made no such assessment.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many Iraqi children the Department estimates have been detained at the temporary prison outside Baghdad International Airport run by coalition forces. 
DFID does not hold such information.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent humanitarian assessment the Department has made of the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict in 1999. 
DFID has aimed to assess the post-conflict situation in Kosovo in partnership with other international agencies, and with the Kosovo authorities. In December 2001, we worked with the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Organisation for Migration, the Dutch Government and the Statistical Office of Kosovo to produce Kosovo's first comprehensive poverty assessment. This showed that approximately 50 per cent. of Kosovo's population was living in poverty, with 12 per cent. in extreme poverty. The assessment has since been used to assist the design and monitoring of social services and benefits.Since then, we have focused on building the capacity of the Kosovo institutions to monitor social service delivery and poverty outcomes. We remain in discussion with other agencies on possible implementation of a second poverty assessment, and on the support needed by the Kosovo authorities to enable them to monitor poverty and deliver services effectively.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent initiatives have been taken to help fund and encourage the education of girls in Pakistan. 
All of DFID's education projects in Pakistan have a strong equity focus.At the national level, DFID is supporting improvements to education management information systems so as to better monitor girl's education, through for example:
the Northern Areas Education Project (£6 million) supports increased female enrolment and participation in management and delivery through improved sector management and the development of community schools. Girls' enrolment in the Northern Areas at primary level has increased from 29,438 in 1996–97 to 52,538 in 2002–03 (an increase of 78 per cent.);
the North West Frontier Province Education Project (£6.5 million) includes support for public-private-community partnerships which are shown to increase the participation of girls; and
the planned Azad Jammu and Kashmir community education project (£650,000) aims to sustain improvements in access to and the quality of schooling, particularly for girls.
The EC is also supporting education sector reform with a programme of €59 million over the period 2002–06. The UK contributes approximately 19 per cent. of the EC programme resource.
Poverty (Middle East)
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment he has made of how many people are living in poverty in (a) the West Bank, (b) Gaza and (c) East Jerusalem. 
Poverty in the Palestinian Occupied Territories has increased dramatically since the intifada started in September 2000. According to the most recent World Bank assessment, 60 per cent. of Palestinians, 1.9 million people, are living on less than $2 a day. In the Gaza Strip, the level is as high as 75 per cent.
Property Ownership Rights
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what support the Department gives to developing countries to improve the systems they operate to establish property ownership rights. 
Over the last five years, DFID has supported developing countries to establish effective and equitable policies in relation to land and property, together with fair and efficient systems to establish and administer property rights, especially in Africa. Since this is invariably costly and long term, we seek to do this in partnership with others such as the international and regional development banks and the European Union. In Ghana and Malawi we are working alongside the World Bank and others to help establish practical, low-cost, and locally managed systems for land administration. In Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda we have supported inclusive processes of debate and consultation leading to new policies and laws on land and property and implementation plans. We are about to embark on a similar process in Kenya and are in the process of identifying how best to assist in South Africa. In India and Bangladesh we have sponsored the development of new alliances and partnerships to secure the tenure of vulnerable groups, the regularisation and improvement of informal low-income urban settlements, assistance to low-income households in accessing land, and the piloting of a community led finance facility for poor communities to manage upgrading, resettlement and infrastructure projects in partnership with local authorities and the banking sector. In Guyana we are about to complete a project for and the establishment of the regularisation of a new Lands and Surveys Commission and the associated regularisation of tenure rights.Globally, DFID supports efforts by the World Bank to establish and implement coherent and inclusive policies to secure and administer property rights in the developing world, and the Department is supporting UN-Habitat in the development of its monitoring system for MDG Target 11 'Improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020', for which one indicator is secure tenure.My Department is also funding research into the promotion of intermediate forms of tenure in urban areas, effective systems for the management of common property, and the improvement of administrative procedures so as to reduce the costs of legal and appropriate shelter for the urban poor.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the ability of poor people in developing countries to realise the value of property which they own; and what assessment the Department has made of the impact that property ownership regulations and systems in their country have on the ability of poor people in developing countries to release the capital in their property. 
has found that in many developing countries poor people cannot realise the value of property they own. Their property rights are often informal and there are legal, administrative and financial barriers to poor people securing formal rights to land and property. However the department has also found that the promotion of property and private land titling and universal markets in land, as practised in developed countries, is not always appropriate. In many cases property ownership systems fail to recognise legitimate customary rights established over generations including those held by community groups. Standard models for titling land and property can sometimes marginalise the rights of the poor while favouring the better off.The links between property rights and the ability to access credit and financial services are complex and context-specific. The department has found that the ability of the poor to accumulate assets, maintain their homes and make investments may not be greatly affected by their tenure status, depending primarily on their income earning and employment opportunities. As a result, whilst there may be good justification for extending formal property rights and simplifying property systems, financial service mechanisms need to be put in place that do not depend on the availability of titled property as collateral.
To ask th4e Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the time it takes to establish property ownership rights in developing countries and what impact this has on economic development in these countries. 
has found that property ownership rights in developed countries have been established as a result of economic and social change over long periods. The establishment of systems to administer and regulate property rights has also been a long-term process, although in many circumstances legitimate rights may exist on the ground. In practice, formal procedures established in law for registering and transacting in property rights can be lengthy, complex, costly and inaccessible to the poor. The result is that informal rights and transactions are not recognised, reducing economic opportunities and increasing disputes.The department has assessed the strengths and limitations of intermediary forms of tenure and the opportunities to regulate land rights at local and community levels—both of which are procedurally and politically quicker, more practical and less costly than ambitious programmes to establish universal land titles. The department accepts that establishment of appropriate systems of property rights requires the pursuit of coherent objectives by governments over many years.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the humanitarian situation in South Africa. 
All agencies active in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa recognise that the high HIV/AIDS infection rates there are both affecting the crisis and being affected by it. In countries such as Zimbabwe, where one in four adults is HIV- positive, current rates of malnutrition and mortality are closely related to the underlying AIDS pandemic. An estimated 2,500 deaths per week in Zimbabwe are due to AIDS.We are still learning how HIV/AIDS affects the crisis, including recovery. Evidence from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe shows that households affected by chronic illness plant fewer crops and can afford fewer inputs like fertiliser. In some cases, households are shifting production to less labour intensive but also less nutritious crops. In addition, governments' capacity to respond to the crisis is undermined by the loss of public sector workers due to AIDS and other factors.DFID is taking steps to integrate HIV/AIDS in its humanitarian programmes. Regionally, DFID is working to ensure that HIV prevention is integrated with food distribution, and that AIDS affected households receive food and care. We are also working closely with Governments, UN and non-governmental agencies to ensure that there is better understanding of the impact of HIV/AIDS on hunger and vulnerability. We are exploring how best to support longer-term safety nets for households affected by chronic illness. We also have a substantial programme of support for HIV/ AIDS prevention and care, working with national AIDS councils and others to ensure appropriate multi-sectoral responses to the epidemic.
Un Aid Target
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development when he expects the Government to meet the UN target of 0.7 per cent. of gross national product in their contribution to overseas aid. 
The Government remain firmly committed to the 0.7 per cent. target. Although there is no timetable for reaching the target, the trend in the UK oda/GNI ratio has been upward since 1997, when it was 0.26 per cent. By 2006, the ratio will be 0.4 per cent., the highest since 1981. The rate of progress thereafter will depend on decisions to be taken in the next Spending Review.
Us Overseas Development Assistance
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what representations he has made to the US Administration calling for them to raise overseas development assistance to 0.7 per cent. of GNI. 
The US Government does not accept the 0.7 per cent. target. However, it has subscribed to the Monterrey Consensus on increasing assistance to developing countries and before Monterrey announced increases in ODA worth $5 billion over three years, followed more recently by President Bush's announcement of significant new funds for HIV/AIDS. It is the world's largest donor in terms of volume.The UK continues to press all donors to increase their contributions to developing countries in line with the Monterrey Consensus and has recently proposed an International Finance Facility (IFF) which would allow donors, including the US, to mobilise increased resources for international development.
Work And Pensions
Health And Safety
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the health and safety environment within which fruit and vegetable packhouse operators and growers operate; and what regulations apply to these sectors to take account of the particular needs of the casual and foreign labour they use. 
The potential hazards at fruit and vegetable packhouses and growers typically include: transport; machinery; manual handling; noise; slips, trips and falls; and dermatitis. These hazards are common across a range of industries.The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires all employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees, and to provide them with information on the risks and measures introduced to protect them.The risk assessment should identify those employees that may be particularly at risk because they do not speak, read or understand English. Employers should make special arrangements to safeguard the health and safety of these employees. This may include providing translations, using interpreters or replacing written health and safety notices with clearly understood symbols or diagrams. An increased level of supervision and monitoring of work activities may also be appropriate.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Health and Safety Executive full- time inspectors there are; and how many there were in each of the previous three years 
I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Mr. Norman) on 7 March 2003, Official Report, column 1269W.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reasons underlie the policy of the Health and Safety Executive (a) to allocate further staff to accident investigations and (b) not to allocate staff to preventative work. 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has not adopted a policy of allocating further staff to accident investigations, at the expense of staff allocated to preventative work.HSE has recently reviewed the balance of resource applied to preventive inspections and investigation of incidents and complaints. HSE has decided to realign its resource to focus more on preventive work; allocating more staff time to preventive inspections, while concentrating the resource applied to investigation on the most serious incidents and complaints. This approach will enable more effective delivery of its mission to ensure that risks to people's health and safety from work related activities are properly controlled.
This is in response to the fact that more cases of ill health caused by work are occurring and there has been a levelling off in the incidence of serious and fatal injuries.
The policy of selecting a proportion of accidents and complaints for investigation, with the most serious being investigated, to ensure lessons are learnt to prevent recurrences has not changed. Accidents and complaints are selected for investigation using criteria set out in its incident selection and complaints procedures.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the Health and Safety Executive's annual budget was in each year since 1997. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Foster) on 14 July, Official Report, column 75W.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance the Government have issued to employers on combating stress in the workplace. 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a range of guidance on tackling work- related stress. Further guidance is due to be published over the coming year."Tackling Work-Related Stress—a Manager's Guide to Improving and Maintaining Employee Health and Well-Being", was published on 25 June 2001. It sets out a risk assessment approach to tackling stress in the workplace. It clearly outlines possible hazards and risks, and offers practical advice to managers."Work-Related Stress—a short guide", was published in November 2001. This guide offers similar information but is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. HSE has developed new guidance in response to informal consultation that identified the need for further help for organisations in developing solutions to problems with stress. The new guidance, to be launched by HSE in October, is based on case studies of successful solutions employed in a range; of organisations. The case studies have been derived from an extensive range of HSE- commissioned research into good practice in stress prevention. HSE plans to launch the new guidance at a conference on 30 October 2003. It will help employers work with employees to develop solutions in response to issues identified by their risk assessments.HSE also publishes information on stress on its website (www.hse.gov.uk/stress). This includes resources to help employers begin to tackle stress and provides access to further sources of help.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) TV advertising and (b) other costs are involved in the promotion of new arrangements for state pensions, benefits and tax credits to be paid directly into the bank accounts of claimants. 
A budget of up to £25 million is available for the Direct Payment campaign, spread over a three- year period (2002–03 to 2004–05). The campaign raises awareness of all account options for Direct Payment; including bank, building society and Post Office accounts.TV advertising media costs from the start of the campaign to date total £1,799,000.Other costs total £4,932,000. This figure breaks down as follows:
|National press media||1,111,000|
|Regional press media||1,257,000|
|Production across all media||814,000|
Figures exclude VAT and apply to the campaign in England, Scotland and Wales only.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff (a) from his Department and (b) not from his Department are available to undertake home visits to deal with (i) pension credit applications and (ii) all benefit applications. 
Latest data show that there are 1,867 (whole time equivalent) field staff in The Pension Service local service who are available to undertake home visits. They handle applications for all benefits relating to older people, including pension credit. There are varying numbers of staff from organisations with whom we have partnering arrangements who are able to provide information about pension credit and other benefits.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the amount of money that is not repaid as a result of benefits sent to people who have subsequently died; and what steps he is taking to reform the system. 
[holding answer 15 September 2003]: As part of our modernisation programme, measures are underway to provide greater focus and specialisation in benefit debt management through the establishment of dedicated benefit debt centres. We are already seeing improvements in increased debt recovery and reduction in outstanding debt.At 31 March 2003, the total outstanding overpaid benefit paid for a period following the death of a benefit recipient was estimated to be £7.73 million. We normally
seek to recover this type of overpayment, but where recovery is not possible, the overpayment is written off.
Department for Work and Pensions Debt Management System
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will establish individual e-mail addresses for each benefit office so that MI12 forms can be e-mailed to the Benefits Agency. 
All benefit offices do have e-mail addresses. However, due to the insecure nature of normal e-mail and the need to guarantee the security of personal data we cannot use this method to exchange information relating to individual benefit claims.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will publish the follow up report on Business Insurance. 
In the Autumn.The First Stage Report on Employers' Liability insurance was published by the Department in June. Action in relation to Employers' Liability includes both immediate initiatives and longer-term policy choices. In the timing of our further report, we have to strike a balance between a desire to report immediate action quickly and allowing time to reflect longer-term developments.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will work more closely with trade bodies representing the insurance and construction trades on issues relating to insurance. 
As part of our work on Employers Liability insurance, Ministers and officials have met a range of insurance and construction industry interests. These have included: the Association of British Insurers, individual insurance companies, the British Insurance Brokers Association, the Federation of Master Builders, the Construction Confederation, the Federation of Small Builders, Scottish Building, and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors. Further meetings are planned.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action his Department plans to take as a result of his assessment of the effect on small and medium-sized enterprises of large increases in insurance premiums. 
The First Stage Report into Employers' Liability Insurance published by my Department in June identified a number of areas for further consideration and action. These included: renewals and risk-related premiums; long-tail occupational disease; the cost of resolving claims; rehabilitation; and enforcement. Both the Government and stakeholders have continued to work on these issues and the Government will report in the autumn on the progress that is being made and any further steps we intend to take. We continue to work closely with the Small Business Service and representatives of small and medium-sized businesses on these issues.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward the planned publication date of the Department's report on business insurance by the construction industry. 
Davis Langdon Consultancy undertook a scoping study for the Construction Sector Unit of the Department for Trade and Industry looking at the difficulties construction contractors face in obtaining insurance. This report was published in January 2003.The aim of the study was to provide DTI with a clear understanding of the nature and extent of the difficulties facing contractors in obtaining and maintaining adequate insurance. The report aimed to provide perspective on construction specific aspects of the issue and to add value to the work of other studies in this area such as the DWP Employers' liability review.We are not currently undertaking any further construction specific reports. However, the Government will be reporting in the autumn on the progress that has been made more generally on Employers Liability insurance (in which there is a keen construction sector interest) and on the further steps it intends to take.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of long-tail insurance on the levels of employers' liability compulsory insurance. 
The issue of 'long-tail' risks was considered as part of the First Stage Report into Employers' Liability insurance published by the Department in June. The report found that concerns about long-tail risks were clearly keenly felt by insurers and might have an impact on decisions about capital provision but it was not able to translate these concerns into quantifiable impacts on pricing. Recent price increases appear to relate most closely to accident risk.We understand that the Association of British Insurers has separately commissioned work that will attempt to quantify the impacts of long-tail risks on the market. They expect to complete this study later this year. The Government will consider this with interest.
Claimant Data Files
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many departmental files holding data on claimants went missing (a) temporarily and (b) permanently from filestores managed (i) by his Department and (ii) by private sector contractors in each year since 1995. 
The Department do not hold the information in the manner requested.The available data relating to files lost or temporarily missing in the Department for Work and Pensions cannot be used to establish a national picture of the numbers lost or missing in the Department's file-stores.There is no consistent counting of files lost in file stores. Some stores, including the central store at Heywood managed by Iron Mountain, keep records of the numbers of files that cannot be traced. In these cases there is no way of distinguishing files actually missing in store, from those that could not be traced because they were never held in the store, or are in transit, or are held elsewhere in the organisation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 17 July 2003, Official Report, column 531W, to the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts), on contracted-out rebates, to what causes he ascribes the assumed reduction in the number of people receiving contracted-out rebates from 2001–02 to 2051–52. 
The projection reflects two main assumptions:
As the Green Paper and earlier answers made clear these are only illustrative assumptions made for the purpose of long-term financial projections and not firm predictions of future experience. The appropriateness of the assumptions will be reviewed as increased data on the number of individuals contracted-out become available.
1. A reduction in the membership of contracted-out personal pension schemes, as a result of the introduction of age-related rebates in April 1997; and 2. Changing membership of contracted-out occupational persion schemes, reflecting among other things, changing patterns of pension provision.
Government Actuary's Department
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the (a) operation of and (b) level of compliance with the White Form arrangements linked to the registration of death. 
The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages completes a "White Form" (form BD8 the free death certificate) which is handed to the person registering the death.If the BD8 is forwarded to the Department, and payment is still being made, arrangements will be made to cancel payment. The Registrar also notifies the Department automatically.There are no statistics available to show level of compliance.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the support his Department gives to (a) areas suffering from high levels of unemployment and (b) areas suffering from low average wages. 
The level of employment has reached record levels, up by over 1.5 million since 1997. The underlying trend remains upwards and recent unemployment figures are the best since the 1970s. The improvement in the labour market has been spread right across the country, and since 1997, unemployment rates have fallen fastest in the areas with the highest unemployment.
Jobcentre Plus provides everyone of working age with advice and guidance on the full range of support available to help them move into work, including programmes such as our New Deals. In areas of the country with higher levels of worklessness and concentrations of people who are disadvantaged in the labour market, we have introduced specialist programmes such as Action Teams for Jobs and Employment Zones. By the end of July 2003, they had been successful in helping more than 116,000 people into work. The Government have also introduced measures to help make work pay such as the national minimum wage and tax credits.
From April 2004, we are also introducing a programme of intensive support in neighbourhoods with very high concentrations of worklessness. Local worklessness pilots will operate in 12 of the most deprived neighbourhoods and will run for two years. The pilots will test a new approach to offering intensive support to local residents to help them overcome barriers to employment.
Disability Living Allowance
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many fraudulent cases have been discovered by the Disability Living Allowance Periodic Enquiry process since June 1999; and if he will make a statement. 
Periodic Enquiry was not designed as a fraud prevention measure. The information requested is not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he intends to extend the threshold for disability living allowance to people of pensionable age and over. 
There are no plans to change the rules governing the upper age limit for claims to disability living allowance.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the documentation issued by his Department that an employer must complete when he or she takes on his or her first employee, in order to be fully compliant; and if he will make a statement. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Employment Relations, Competition and Consumers on 11 September 2003, Official Report, column 388W.
Employers' Liability Insurance
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department has collated on the number of small and middle-sized enterprises which have stopped trading in the past 12 months as a result of increases in employers' compulsory liability insurance premiums.