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Written Answers

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

The following answers were received between Friday 19 September and Monday 6 October 2003

Minister For Women

Gender Pay Gap

To ask the Minister for Women what measures have been taken to address the pay gap between men and women; and if she will make a statement. [131312]

The Government are taking action to tackle the complex factors behind the pay gap, including promoting voluntary pay reviews and good practice on equal pay. We have set a target for pay reviews and are working in partnership with businesses and trade unions, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and Opportunity Now towards ensuring that 35 per cent. of large companies have done pay reviews by 2006. We provided the EOC with £100,000 to produce a toolkit to help employers conduct pay reviews and provided trade unions with additional funding to train over 400 representatives in equal pay issues. The Government have committed all civil service Departments and agencies to review their pay systems and produce action plans to close any equal pay gaps, 83 action plans have been submitted, representing 98 per cent. of the civil service. We are also taking steps to widen women's opportunities in the labour market. The Employment Act 2002 introduced measures to help parents maintain links with the world of work and better balance their work and home lives. These will help women return to the labour market and have a positive impact on the pay gap. The Act also introduced an equal pay questionnaire that will make it easier to tackle pay discrimination in the workplace.

People Trafficking

To ask the Minister for Women what assessment she has made of progress in tackling the illegal trafficking of women. [127787]

I have been asked to reply.We have set out a comprehensive approach to tackle trafficking in women and other forms of organised crime in the "White Paper Secure Borders, Safe Haven" published in 2002. The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, and its Optional Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. The Government also supports action to combat trafficking, in both European Union and international fora and has supported information campaigns aimed at alerting women to the risks involved in such illegal immigration.

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 introduced a new offence of trafficking for the purpose of controlling prostitution with a maximum penalty of 14 years, and comprehensive offences covering trafficking into, out of and within the UK for purposes of sexual exploitation are included in the Sexual Offences Bill.

The Government have also recently published a trafficking toolkit, which will be a best practice guide for immigration officers, police and others potentially dealing with trafficking. A pilot scheme to support victims of trafficking to help them give evidence against their exploiters has been running since March 2003.

Northern Ireland

Battalion Disbandments

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who has ultimate authority on the disbandment of a battalion of a regiment within the Army. [120172]

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has ultimate authority on the disbandment of a battalion of a regiment within the Army.

Cabinet Office

Civil Contingencies

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what role the EU will play in civil contingencies planning. [130796]

The EU is taking a leading role in facilitating multilateral emergency planning. Through the Committee for the Action Programme and for the Mechanism in the field of Civil Protection, the EU is establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced co-operation in civil protection assistance interventions.While the UK continues to retain national responsibility for its own contingency planning, there may be cases where the resources of one nation are unable to cope with the scale of a particular incident.In such exceptional circumstances we would expect the full co-operation of the member states and institutions of the European Union, including the Health and Safety Committee, in containing and resolving the situation. To this end the European Union's civil protection Monitoring and Information Centre would facilitate and co-ordinate any request for assistance from Member States.

Asbestos

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much has been spent by his Department and its agencies on (a) asbestos surveys and (b) the management and removal of asbestos since 1 January

2001; and what budget is available to (i) commission asbestos surveys and (ii) manage and remove asbestos from buildings in (A) 2003 and (B) 2004. [130916]

The Cabinet Office has undertaken asbestos surveys for the London and Basingstoke Estate, the GCDA buildings, HMSO (Norwich), Emergency Planning College (York), the COI and the CMPS Residential Training Centre (Sunningdale). This has identified risk areas and how this can best be managed.The costs incurred since 2001 are as follows:

London Estate

No data on the costs of asbestos surveys and work pre-April 2002 are available, with the exception of the refurbishment project in Admiralty House and 22–26 Whitehall, where the cost of identifying and removing asbestos was £291,000. Expenditure in the management and removal of asbestos on the London Estate since April 2002 is £9,000.

Basingstoke Estate

The control of asbestos is the responsibility of the building's landlord. Some low risk asbestos has been found and removed but no costs were incurred.

GCDA

No asbestos identified and no costs incurred.

HMSO (Norwich)

The control of asbestos is the responsibility of the building's landlord. No risk has been identified and no costs were incurred.

Emergency Planning College (York)

No expenditure incurred in 2001 and 2002.

CMPS Residential Training Centre (Sunningdale)

Since 1 January 2001, £511 has been spent on asbestos surveys and £6,000 on asbestos removal (the latter amount was paid in 2003).

COI

No expenditure was incurred in 2001 and 2002.

The budgets available in 2003 and 2004 are as follows:

London Estate

The Cabinet Office's FM provider, as part of their fixed annual fee, maintains all asbestos surveys. No specific budget has been identified for the removal of asbestos, as there are no high-risk areas unless areas are disturbed due to building works. Costs of required measures will be identified and incorporated into any budgeted project costs at the time of the works.

Basingstoke Estate

No further risks have been identified and therefore no specific budget allocated.

GCDA and HMSO (Norwich)

No risk identified; therefore, no specific budget allocated.

Emergency Planning College (York)

The budget for 2003 for surveys is £5,725; for the management and removal it is £18,500. All of this work has been completed. The budget for 2004 for management and removal is £10,500.

CMPS Residential Training Centre (Sunningdale)

In May 2002 the Cabinet Office commenced a PPP contract with Initial Style Conferences Ltd. (ISC) to manage Sunningdale Park. All risks and expenditure relating to asbestos is now the responsibility of ISC.

COI

As the asbestos previously identified was deemed as being of low risk, costs of its management and removal will be included as part of any future refurbishment works. No separate cost data are available.

Information Technology

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what IT projects with a value in excess of £10,000 the Cabinet Office authorised in each of the last three financial years. [124424]

I have today placed in the Libraries of the House a summary of IT projects with a value in excess of £10,000 that my Department authorised in the last three financial years.It has been compiled from centrally held records and those maintained by existing business units, but, due to changes in my Department over the last three years, will not capture all projects that were managed by units that no longer exist.The summary excludes any projects undertaken by the executive agencies of my Department (i.e. the Central Office of Information and the Government Car and Despatch Agency).

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many outsourced IT contracts have been signed by his Department in each year since 1997; how much each of these contracts is worth; with whom they are signed; how many have been renegotiated; how many are still in place; and if he will make a statement. [126209]

My Department has signed 21 outsourced IT contracts since 1 April 1997. 20 of these contracts were awarded to the suppliers listed below for the delivery of services in connection with the Government Gateway. Of these, 9 have been renegotiated and 14 are currently in place. The estimated total value of these contracts is just over £117 million.

  • BCC Chambersign
  • BT Syntegra
  • Cable & Wireless
  • CGEY
  • Chatmoderators
  • Clark, McKay & Walpole
  • Domain Technologies
  • EDS (Initially Loudcloud)
  • EduSery
  • EMC Computer Systems (UK) Ltd
  • Equifax
  • ITNet
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • National Computing Centre
  • Sapient Limited
  • SchlumbergerSema
  • Securicor
  • Team Netsol
  • Vizuri
  • Westminster Digital.

A further contract for the provision of my Department's internal office systems and ancillary services was awarded to Compaq Computer Limited (now HP Ltd.) in January 2000 and runs for five years,

with the option to extend for a further two years. This was the renewal of an existing outsourced contract. The estimated expenditure on the core services over five years is in the region of £15 million.

Secondments

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the Cabinet Office's policy is on employing secondees from the private sector; how many secondees from the (a) private and (b) public sector the Cabinet Office were employed in each year since 1997; from which companies and organisations they were seconded; at what level they were employed; and if he will make a statement. [127066]

The Government are committed to developing a modern, flexible, outward-focused civil service that works in partnership with all sectors of society. Interchange is a key tool in meeting that commitment. Secondments are encouraged as part of the interchange programme, which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the civil service and other organisations. Before an interchange can occur all parties must be satisfied that no conflict of interest arises. In all cases agreement is reached with the parent organisation on the salary reimbursed by the Cabinet Office to ensure it falls in the civil service pay range appropriate to the post.There are no records available prior to April 1999. The following table gives the number of secondees within the Cabinet Office by Pay Band within each year from 1999–2000. The figures for secondees from the private and public sectors are aggregated. Separate figures are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

LevelNumber of secondees in post
1999–2000SCS5
Band A122
Band B226
Band B131
Total34
2000–2001SCS6
Band A33
Band B212
Band B11
Total52
2001–2002SCS9
Band A52
Band B219
Total80
2002–2003SCS11
Band A44
Band B210
Total65
2003–2004 (to date)SCS15
Band A20
Band B28
Total43
1 Combined grades 6 and 7.
2 Combined grades Senior Executive Officer (SEO) and Higher Executive Officer (HEO).3 Equivalent to Executive Officer.

The following is a list of the companies and organisations from which the above were seconded:

  • Accenture
  • Addenbrooke's NHS Trust
  • Adult Learning Inspectorate
  • Age Concern
  • Arthur Andersen
  • Audit Commission
  • Australian Civil Service
  • Barking and Dagenham, London Borough
  • Bass Leisure Retail
  • Bates, Wells and Braithewaite
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • British Telecom
  • BSkyB
  • BUPA
  • Camden, London Borough
  • Canadian Government
  • Commission for Racial Equality
  • Deloitte and Touche
  • Energis
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Environment Agency
  • Environmental Resource Management Ltd.
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • Financial Times
  • Ford Motor Company
  • French Civil Service
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Greater London Authority
  • Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospital Trust
  • Hay Management Consultants
  • Hertfordshire Constabulary
  • Hewlett Packard
  • House of Commons
  • IBM UK Ltd.
  • ICI
  • Imperial College
  • Improvement and Development Agency
  • Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Institute of Education
  • Kids' Club Network
  • King's Fund
  • KPMG
  • Local Government Association
  • Logica
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Microsoft Ltd.
  • National Children's Bureau
  • National Consumer Council
  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • National Criminal Intelligence Service
  • New Opportunities Fund New Policy Institute
  • NHS Information Authority
  • NHS Purchase and Supply Agency
  • North Hertfordshire District Council
  • Office of Public Management
  • Ofsted
  • Oracle Corporation UK Ltd.
  • Oxera Consulting Ltd.
  • Poole Hospital NHS Trust
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Council
  • Singapore Government
  • Skillmind Consultancy
  • Social Market Foundation
  • South Bank University
  • Stockport Corporation
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Surrey County Council
  • Tarmac
  • Three
  • Unilever
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Portsmouth
  • Warwick Business School
  • Welsh Development Agency
  • Westminster University
  • Worksystems Inc.

Solicitor-General

Crown Prosecution Service

To ask the Solicitor-General what targets were set by the CPS in 2002–03 to deal with prosecution cases in a timely and efficient manner in partnership with other agencies; and what the performance results are against these targets. [128716]

In 2002–03, the Crown Prosecution Service set two targets in order to deal with prosecution cases in a timely and efficient manner in partnership with other agencies.The first target was to send 80 per cent. of committal papers to the defence within 14 days (10 days in custody cases) of receipt from the police of a full file for committal certified as trial ready. The target was achieved in 86.7 per cent. of cases.The second target was to deliver 84 per cent. of briefs to counsel within 14 days of committal or transfer (21 days in non-standard fee cases). The target was achieved in 86.6 per cent. of cases.

Domestic Violence

To ask the Solicitor-General what steps the CPS has taken to contribute to the Government's strategy to tackle domestic violence. [128721]

The CPS handles about 13,000 cases of domestic violence each year. The revised policy on prosecution of cases of domestic violence launched in November 2001 focuses on the safety of the victim and children and on conducting cases, wherever possible,

on the basis of evidence other than that of the victim. The work done by the CPS at operational level is complemented by the strategic contribution of the network of CPS Domestic Violence Co-ordinators across England and Wales who share information and good practice and issue guidance to prosecutors to help them identify and address difficult and sensitive issues that are regularly raised in domestic violence cases.

The CPS also contributes to the Government's strategy by consulting and working closely at a local level with criminal justice partners and the voluntary sector by participating in local domestic violence fora. At national level the CPS Policy lead on domestic violence attends the Home Office Virtual Unit and made a significant input into the Government White Papers, "Justice for All" and "Safety and Justice", addressing issues of prevention, protection and support.

International Development

Afghanistan

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the security situation in Afghanistan and its effect on humanitarian and reconstruction work. [130296]

The security situation in Afghanistan continues to be a major concern of the population, the Afghan government and the international community. In large areas of the south the aid community remains extremely constrained in providing humanitarian and development assistance because of the threats from a lack of reliable security.Attacks have been primarily concentrated in the south of the country. However, there have been other incidents elsewhere in the country, including incidents related to clashes between contending power holders. NGOs and the UN continue to work across the whole of Afghanistan, although their freedom of movement is constrained in some areas.To help to counter the increasing insecurity, four international joint civil-military provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) have been established in Mazar-e Sharif, Bamiyan, Kunduz and Gardez with four more planned to be operational before the end of this year in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat and Charikar. The PRTs are designed to bring stability to the regions and facilitate the reconstruction effort of the Afghan Administration, UN and NGOs

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much of the money pledged the Government of Afghanistan has received; and how much money his Department has given to Afghanistan. [130297]

International donors meeting in Tokyo 21 to 22 January 2002 pledged more than US$1.8 billion to rebuild Afghanistan in 2002 which has been disbursed, and US$4.5 billion over five years.

DFID have given £131million to Afghanistan since November 2001. The joint DFID, MOD and FCO Global Conflict Prevention Pool has also given £16 million.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on attacks on non-governmental organisations workers in Afghanistan. [130299]

Aid workers and relief organisations can be seen as soft targets by those seeking to undermine efforts to rebuild and bring stability.It is with much regret that in the last month two workers of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, a Mercy Corps driver and four members of the Danish Committee to Aid Afghan Refugees have been killed in Afghanistan.I greatly admire the way in which, despite the difficult conditions under the present security situation, non-governmental organisations are continuing to provide assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable Afghans.

Aid Expenditure

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much aid his Department has (a) unilaterally and (b) multilaterally provided to (i) Afghanistan, (ii) Algeria, (iii) Angola, (iv) Bangladesh, (v) Botswana, (vi) Ghana, (vii) Jamaica, (viii) Kazakhstan, (ix) Kenya, (x) Nigeria, (xi) Pakistan, (xii) Sri Lanka, (xiii) Syria, (xiv) Tanzania, (xv) Tunisia, (xvi) United Arab Emirates and (xvii) the Ukraine per annum since 1997 through (A) ECHO, (B) the UN, (C) the World Bank and (D) the IMF; how much of this aid was delivered in kind; how much of this aid was provided as monetary investment for specific projects; and if he will make a statement. [129977]

Information in the form requested is not readily available but I have placed in the Libraries of the House two tables under the title "DFID Bilateral and Multilateral Aid to Countries referred to in Parliamentary Question UIN 129977". These show DFID bilateral expenditure to the countries listed broken down by form of aid, and the imputed UK share of multilateral assistance to these countries by main channel. The bilateral data are in financial (April-March) years and the multilateral in calendar years. The latest year is shown in each case.Note also that the imputed multilateral data are based on OECD statistics and are an estimate for the UK effort—i.e. wider than DFID.Additional information on the bilateral expenditure is available in DFID's annual publication Statistics on International Development, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. No further information is available on multilateral expenditure.

Arms Control

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what steps have been taken by the Department to assist developing countries in increasing security for legal stockpiles of armaments. [131139]

The UK recognises that improving stockpile security is a key component of efforts to prevent the Proliferation of illegal armaments. The UK provides limited assistance to countries on security for legally held stockpiles of small arms. Through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool Small Arms Strategy, the UK provides support to the work of UNDP's South Eastern Europe Small Arms Clearing House, which has provided training and assistance to states in that region on stockpile security. In Sierra Leone, the UK provided training to the military and security forces on weapons management and security systems as part of a wider package of support for restructuring the military forces after the conflict.The UK was a key contributor to the development of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Best Practice Guidelines on Stockpile Management, published earlier this year, and is currently working with the OSCE to devise ways to support the operationalisation of these Guidelines.DFID, the FCO and the MOD are also looking at ways to increase provision of technical guidance and assistance in this area within the context of security sector reform programmes.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 17 June, Official Report, column 122W, on the gun trade, what assessment he has made of the impact of export control legislation on the proliferation of small arms in developing countries; and whether the Government raised the issue of export control legislation and the proliferation of small arms at the UN Biennial Meeting of States in July. [129808]

The UK believes that stronger export control legislation is an important way of tackling the proliferation of small arms in developing countries, and is committed to working with our international partners to strengthen existing legislation at the national, regional and international levels. However, legislation also requires effective and sustained enforcement, and the UK government provides support to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of that legislation.The UK Government made export control legislation one of its priorities for the UN Biennial Meeting of States, and made a strong statement on the need to strengthen and enforce export controls during the plenary session. The UK also co-sponsored a side meeting for interested states to consider ways of achieving this. This meeting established a considerable degree of support, particularly for regional processes as an interim stage to securing greater international agreement. The UK is now discussing options for taking this process forward with possible co-partners, including UK support for regional processes, and remains committed to working with our partners internationally to secure stronger export controls on transfers of small arms.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what steps the Department has taken to help developing countries use and develop their air traffic control infrastructures to reduce the number of illicit arms shipments arriving in their countries. [131149]

The UK currently focuses its assistance on strengthening policing, customs and border control in developing countries as a means of helping them to reduce the number of illicit arms shipments arriving in their countries. This work is funded under the Global Conflict Pool Small Arms Strategy. The Pool has not provided any direct assistance to developing countries to develop their air traffic control infrastructure.

Burma

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether UK development aid to Burma is made conditional upon specific policies or course of conduct by the Burmese Government. [130629]

UK aid for the Burmese poor addresses priority humanitarian and other critical needs, including prevention of HIV/AIDS. UK aid is provided within the European Union (EU) Common Position on Burma, which states that "… Non humanitarian aid or development, programmes shall be suspended …" except those "projects and programmes which should be, as far as possible, defined in consultation with democratic groups, including the National League for Democracy, and run with their involvement:

in support of human rights and democracy,
in support of poverty alleviation and, in particular, of the provision of basic needs for the poorest section of the population, in the context of decentralised cooperation through local civilian authorities and non-governmental organisations,
in support of health and basic education through non-governmental organisations."
We require partners to institute suitable mechanisms to ensure that UK aid is used in a transparent and accountable manner. Monitoring and evaluation systems have to be set up by recipients of UK aid, and such systems prevent any part of it going to the regime.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the (a) extent and (b) nature is of Government development aid to Burma; and what plans there are to change the amount and nature of aid. [130631]

In the current financial year 2003–04, UK aid for poor Burmese people is likely to be about £4 million, addressing needs in the areas of health, HIV/AIDS and support to refugees. Options for future aid are currently being assessed through the preparation of a new country plan.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what proportion of UK development aid to Burma is channelled through the Burmese (a) Government and (b) Government agencies. [130632]

UK aid for poor Burmese people is channelled through United Nations (UN) agencies and international and local non-governmental organisations. In 2003, some of the funding for the UN-led programme to tackle HIV/AIDS, to which the UK

is the largest contributor, will be spent on activities delivered through the National AIDS Programme. It is not yet possible to say what proportion of UK aid will be used in this way. The UN is required to monitor these expenditures rigorously to ensure that they are used for the intended purposes in a transparent and accountable manner.

Burundi

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the numbers of people internally displaced in Burundi; and what measures are in place to meet their humanitarian needs. [130305]

The current estimate of the number of internally displaced persons as of August this year is just over 280,000 plus up to an additional 100,000 temporarily displaced at any time. They are an important focal point for the humanitarian relief effort in the country. Although this is effective where there is access, there is concern about the welfare of communities who cannot be reached.The UK's humanitarian support to Burundi includes a £400,000 grant to Medecins Sans Frontieres for emergency health interventions, which benefits displaced persons in Bujumbura by increasing access to basic health and to emergency surgical services. We envisage a further £500,000 contribution to the UN Consolidated Appeal in the near future. The EU are providing, through its European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), up to £15 million for humanitarian support activities in Burundi, this includes humanitarian support to internally displaced people.We continue to monitor the humanitarian situation and will continue to respond to requests for support in line with perceived humanitarian priorities.

Cameroon

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to the answer of 14 July 2003, Official Report, column 9W, on poverty reduction strategies, what pressure his Department applied for the inclusion of water, sanitation and hygiene in the Cameroon Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan published on 12 August; and whether the Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan provides sufficient resources to meet (a) the water and (b) the sanitation millennium development targets in Cameroon. [130749]

Cameroon's Poverty Reduction Strategy includes objectives of improved access to drinking water and sanitation under one of the seven Strategic Areas. DFID participated in discussions of the draft strategy with the Government of Cameroon and other donors. Our focus was on improved governance, monitoring of PRS implementation, and forestry sector reform, which is the sector we are concentrating on and where we feel we can make most difference. We would expect adequacy of the Strategy with respect to all the Millennium Development Goals to become clearer through the monitoring process, which the government of Cameroon and donors are working to put in place.

Congo

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what actions his Department is taking to support the transitional national government in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [130689]

Since the installation of the Transitional National Government in the Democratic Republic of Congo in July DFID has started to engage actively with it, and with other donors, aimed at establishing a significant programme of support to the DRC. This involves some initial Quick Impact Projects in the fields of health and education to an estimated value of £19 million. In addition, a DFID mission visited Kinshasa in early September to identify activities in support of the five Transitional Institutions of the TNG. We are also looking at working with partners, especially the Government of Belgium, in Security Sector Reform. The UK is also a major contributor to the World Bank's regional Great Lakes programme for DDR which will include programmes in the DRC.

Consultancy Contracts

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many consultancies were commissioned by the Department in the last two years for which figures are available; and what the cost of those contracts was. [130889]

DFID central Procurement Department commissioned consultancy contracts as follows:

Number of contracts£ million
2001–021,082282
2002–03833262
In addition, DFID overseas departments commissioned lower value contracts worth a total of £20 million in 2001–02 and £25 million in 2002–03.

Departmental Budget

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what percentage of the Department's 2002–03 budget is spent on providing help to those without adequate access to water, food and shelter. [129248]

The central focus of the Government's policy on international development is a commitment to the internationally agreed target to halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, together with associated targets including basic health care provision and universal access to primary education. We believe that reducing poverty is the best way of empowering people to take control of their own lives and gain access to basic requirements such as food, shelter and water.The Monterrey Consensus, agreed at the UN Financing for Development conference in Monterrey in 2002, recognised the crucial role played by developing countries' own poverty reduction strategies. Experience has shown that the reform agendas drawn up locally are more successful than those imposed from outside. More effective use of aid means moving away from donors allocating funding to selected sectors and donor-led projects to providing support that is consistent with poverty reduction strategies drawn up by the developing countries themselves. It is for this reason that we do not plan our resources on the basis of different sectors. Rather, we allocate funds to regions and countries and allow country programmes to determine priorities according to national plans.It is not therefore possible to provide an exact figure for the percentage of the Department's overall budget spent on particular sectors. Over half of the Department's overall budget is allocated to expenditure through multilateral organisations and other categories, such as direct budget support and humanitarian aid, where it is difficult to attribute precisely spending according to sectors.We are committed to the Millennium Development Goal targets on water and sanitation as well as to the adoption of national policies and strategies for integrated water resources management in all developing countries by 2005. Improvements to water management are central to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. DFID expenditure on water and sanitation in 2001–002 was £33.8 million. We do not yet have final figures for 2002–03.The United Nations agency responsible for shelter is UN-Habitat. The UK contribution is around £1 million a year (which in 2002–03 amounted to 27 per cent. of their core funding). We do not have figures on bilateral spending on shelter.The causes of hunger are many and include poverty, ill health, exclusion, conflict and natural disasters. Poverty is, however, the principal cause. The concept of 'food security' focuses on people's ability to obtain food, rather than simply on food production, which is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for tackling hunger. Policies to tackle food insecurity need to be based on a clear understanding of who is hungry and why. The design of such policies needs to take into account people's vulnerability, the impact of shocks and the effects of trade policies.DFID spent an average of around £275 million a year in the period 1998–99–2000–01 on Sustainable Livelihoods (including Agriculture and Food Security). Final figures are not vet available for 2002–03. This does not include short-term emergency food aid.DFID's total bilateral spend in 2001–02 was £1,506 million, of which £964 million can be allocated by sector (this does not include budget support or humanitarian assistance).It should be noted that all these figures are likely to understate the amounts actually spent in these sectors for the reasons given above and because, in the past, DFID only attributed expenditure to one sector even when an activity contributed to more than one sector.

Ethiopia

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the Department's policy is on the Ethiopian Government's

programme of national resettlement in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region; and if he will make a statement. [130304]

The Government of Ethiopia are undertaking a programme of voluntary resettlement. We recognise that if properly managed, such programmes can have a role to play as part of a wider set of actions to address food insecurity. However, badly managed resettlement can have a negative impact if people are moved into inappropriate areas or given insufficient support or services.There clearly have been some cases of inappropriate resettlement in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region. Our overall policy has been to engage with the federal and regional Government to promote a more careful and measured approach. In addition, we have remained ready to respond to humanitarian situations that might develop. Our Ethiopia office will continue to monitor the situation carefully.

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 2002, whether the Department discussed the impact of the orders on developing countries with (a) aid agencies and (b) NGOs working in developing countries. [129820]

No. DFID officials did discuss the submissions made by aid agencies and NGOs working in developing countries to HMG's consultation on the draft secondary legislation of the Export Control Act with relevant DTI officials.

Food Expenditure

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much was spent on food by his Department and by each of the agencies for which it is responsible in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; what proportion of that food by value was produced in the United Kingdom; what guidance he has issued to encourage the procurement of home-produced food; and if he will make a statement. [129373]

DFID's headquarters catering services purchased food costing £121,000 in 20012–02 (only part-year figures are available, dating from the start of the current contract) and £224,000 in 2002–03. The caterers estimate that around 60 per cent. was produced in the UK. We have agreed an action plan with them to implement the Government's policy for sustainable food procurement.

Great Lakes Region

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development when his Department will publish a joint strategy paper on the Great Lakes Region. [130688]

DFID and FCO plan to publish their Joint Strategy Paper on the Great Lakes within the next month.

Iraq

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 18 June 2003, Official Report, column 241W, on Iraq, whether water companies in the UK have offered assistance in Iraq. [129804]

In response to requests from NGOs, one UK water company has provided assistance, on a not-for-profit basis, to drinking water supply and sanitation services in Iraq. The company has also provided DFID with information on its experience in the water sector in Iraq, and has offered further not-for-profit support to NGOs, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Baghdad Water Authority in rehabilitating water infrastructure. This offer has been forwarded to the Iraqi Ministry of Public Works and the CPA.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 9 June 2003, Official Report, column 614W, whether the Department has made an assessment of (a) whether there are sufficient numbers of trained public health laboratory staff in Iraq and (b) whether British military personnel can offer assistance in this area. [129806]

No overall assessment of public health laboratory staff in Iraq has taken place since the conflict this year. Information from agencies working the health sector in Iraq, such as the World Health Organisation, suggests that trained Iraqi staff are available, but their skills need to be updated in line with current professional knowledge.UK forces have a very small number of appropriately trained personnel in theatre who could, in principle, offer assistance in the training of Iraqi public health laboratory staff, subject to other priorities.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 17 June 2003, Official Report, column 124W, on Iraq, if he will also make a detailed study of the resources needed to re-establish a working civil service in Iraq. [129818]

The Coalition Provisional Authority is assessing the resources required to re-establish the Iraqi civil service. Institutional strengthening requirements are also expected to be addressed in the social and economic needs assessments now being undertaken by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations. DFID will consider whether any further detailed study is required after these bodies have reported their findings.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 17 June 2003, Official Report, column 124W, on Iraq, if he will take steps to ensure that short term reforms to Iraq's food network before the restoration of normal market conditions are free of political interference. [129819]

DFID's priority in the short term is to minimise any disruption to food supplies, particularly to poor and vulnerable people, resulting from the winding-up of the Oil for Food Programme in Iraq. Over the medium term, our policy is to replace the food distribution system by a monetary benefit which, like the current food distribution system, would initially be universal and standardised.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what support has been given by his Department to the Marsh Arabs of Iraq since the conclusion of hostilities in that country; and if he will make a statement. [129825]

DFID has been providing support for health care and sanitation for Iraqi Marsh Arabs and refugees in Iran through the NGO AMAR (£2.45 million over the last four years). We are in the process of considering a further year's support for AMAR. DFID has also granted £522,000 to the International Medical Corps for its work in Iraq, which includes providing clean and sustainable water supplies in Marsh Arab areas.Social and economic needs assessments being undertaken by the World Bank, IMF and United Nations are expected to identify future requirements in the Marsh Arab areas. The Coalition Provisional Authority and the UN Environment Programme are also planning to assess environmental issues in Iraq, including in the southern marshlands. Future DFID support will be informed by outcome of these assessments.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of (a) boys and (b) girls returning to school in Iraq. [129877]

It is not possible to provide accurate estimates of numbers of children returning to school in Iraq because the administrative systems in the country do not at present have the capacity to collect such information. The Coalition Provisional Authority has reported that almost all Iraq's schools were open by June 2003. UNICEF, which assisted in the running of the summer examinations, has reported that end of year exams were taken by approximately 5.5 million children in June and July 2003.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether students in Iraq will be able to sit examinations in this academic year. [129878]

UNICEF reports that end of year exams were taken by approximately 5.5 million children in Iraq in June and July this year. We fully expect Iraqi students to be able to sit examinations in the forthcoming academic year.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent conflict in Iraq upon aid programmes for other developing countries. [130053]

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development and I set out in our letter of 22 May to Members of both Houses, we will not divert funding to Iraq from existing DFID programmes such as emergency assistance in Southern Africa, Afghanistan or the West Bank and Gaza, or programmes tackling poverty elsewhere.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what amounts have been spent in Iraq since 1 May on (a) re-establishing water supplies, (b) re-connecting electricity supplies and (c) assisting in supporting existing Iraqi hospitals and medical centres; and if the Department will include a breakdown of itemised expenditure in each weekly edition of its Iraq Update Report. [130291]

Most of DFID's expenditure on Iraq is channelled through the United Nations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and non-governmental organisations, each of which report to DFID on their expenditure and activities separately and at different times. It would not therefore be possible, other than at disproportionate cost to DFID and to the agencies concerned, to provide details of our total spending in Iraq, sector by sector, at any particular point of time.DFID has so far committed £198 million to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq. This includes £15.8 million to water and sanitation, £12.2 million to power and fuel, and £8.5 million to health and nutrition. A further £35 million has been allocated to humanitarian agencies without being earmarked to specific sectors, a proportion of which is being spent in the water, power and health sectors according to priorities identified on the ground. DFID has also recently agreed a £20 million project to help restore essential infrastructure in southern Iraq, which is expected to improve service delivery of power, water and fuel to over 5 million people.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment has been made of the availability of medical supplies in Iraq. [130307]

Recent assessments by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Iraqi Ministry of Health indicate that there are no major shortages of essential medical supplies in Iraq. There are, however, still reported shortages of specialist supplies such as laboratory reagents, TB antibiotics, oxygen and drugs for some chronic diseases. A number of agencies, including WHO, have helped refurbish drug warehouses in Baghdad, and the transport of drugs to the regions.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment has been made of the supply of (a) clean water, (b) sanitation and (c) electricity throughout Iraq. [130308]

Recent assessments suggest that the Baghdad water system is working at approximately 80 per cent. of its pre-war capacity, and that 75 per cent. of the population of Baghdad has access to sewage networks. The supply of clean water and access to sanitation in other areas is difficult to assess accurately. UNICEF and the General Corporation for Water Supply are compiling a database on progress in the water and sanitation sector in order to provide better assessments of the current level of services.Electricity supply throughout Iraq has improved over the last month. On 8 September, power generation had reached 3550 megawatts, approximately 81 per cent. of the pre-war level of 4400 megawatts. The Coalition Provisional Administration has set a target for reaching

this pre-war level by the end of September. Work is also taking place to restore the transmission grid, which has suffered particularly badly from looting and sabotage. This will allow the additional power to be used effectively throughout the country to improve the reliability of service and to provide additional power to the less well served areas. In July and August Baghdad had power on a 3 hours on and 3 hours off basis while Basrah had up to 20 hours per day.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what measures are in place to restore and maintain security in Iraq to enable the provision of humanitarian aid. [130309]

The provision of stability and security in Iraq is the highest priority for the Coalition. A secure environment is essential if political and economic reconstruction is to succeed, and humanitarian assistance provided. The Coalition is making considerable efforts to develop Iraq's own security institutions as quickly as possible, as well as deploying, additional forces to Iraq as announced by my RHF the Secretary of State for Defence on 8 September.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment has been made of the level of food shortages in Iraq.[130310]

The food security situation in Iraq is under constant review by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade. Food stocks are not expected to run out.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent discussions the Department has had regarding the role of the UN in Iraq. [130311]

DFID is in regular contact with the UN, both in New York and in-country about its operations in Iraq and I met Kevin Kennedy, the head of the UN mission in Iraq, during my recent trip to Baghdad. The UN is still assessing the effect on its operations of the bombing of its Baghdad office and the subsequent temporary reduction in the number of international staff in Iraq. The UN has said that it intends to continue to operate in Iraq and that its key humanitarian programmes, including the Public Distribution System for food, will remain operating under the management of Iraqi staff.A current priority for the UN is to complete assessments of its own security provisions and put in place additional appropriate security measures. DFID has offered to help support increased safety and security measures for the UN operations in Iraq.DFID is also involved in discussions with other Government Departments on the role of the UN in Iraq's political development.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assistance his Department is giving to the (a) World Bank, (b) IMF and (c) UN in preparing the report on the social and economic needs in Iraq; and when he expects the report to be completed. [131203]

DFID has not provided financial assistance to the IFIs or the UN to prepare their report on the social and economic needs of Iraq.DFID has however committed £3.15 million to the IMF to provide technical assistance to Iraqi Ministries and £113 million to UN agencies for humanitarian and reconstruction activities.We expect the WB/IMF/UN report to be published on 2 October.

Kosovo

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what humanitarian contribution the Department has made since 1999 to help children in Kosovo who lost their parents owing to the conflict there in 1999. [130348]

Immediately after the end of the 1999 conflict, DFID disbursed £108 million as humanitarian assistance, covering food supplies, shelter, health care, mines clearance and support to small enterprises, and funding for international relief agencies working with refugees both in Kosovo and in neighbouring countries. This assistance included the provision of £4.5 million to UNICEF for support to schools. DFID also provided humanitarian support through its contributions to the EC Humanitarian Office.Since then DFID has collaborated with the Kosovo authorities and the World Bank to review social welfare policies, and is providing a £2 million grant to assist with social policy reform. This includes the provision of social assistance to families and children in need, and social services for the protection of children. DFID has also co-funded a major poverty assessment to assist the design and monitoring of social services and benefits. In parallel with this, DFID has provided support to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for the strengthening of systems for setting standards and quality assurance for children's services.

Liberia

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what measures are in place to improve the (a) sanitary conditions and (b) water supply in Liberia. [130301]

During the peak of the conflict the NGOs that remained in Liberia managed to ensure a minimum level of water supply to the displaced in Monrovia, but sanitation became a major cause for concern. The current situation is that water supply and sanitation issues are being addressed in Monrovia by the UN, NGOs and the Red Cross with the help of DFID funding, but access to areas outside Monrovia and its environs are still hampered by security concerns.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the security situation in Liberia and its impact on humanitarian relief. [130302]

Security remains the major issue hampering humanitarian access in Liberia and the capacity of ECOMIL to ensure security outside of Monrovia is limited. Access to areas outside Monrovia is being hampered by militia groups and access to other major towns is sporadic.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the availability of (a) food, (b) shelter and (c) medicines for the people of Liberia. [130303]

Food supply and nutritional issues are being addressed by the UN and NGOs. From 16 August until 5 September, the World Food Programme (WFP) has provided assistance to 419,177 beneficiaries with 2,994 metric tons of food. In addition, WFP distributed 337 metric tons of food to an estimated 62,130 people through special feeding programmes, approximately 50,000 of whom were fed under Action Contre la Faim's DFID-funded emergency food distribution.The Red Cross and the UN are addressing non-food items and shelter requirements, and a number of our partners on the ground are supplying medical equipment and drugs to Liberian health centres (Figures currently unavailable).To address all these needs, we have committed £4.7 million to support the humanitarian work of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs. This in addition to the £2.9 million we have provided to international agencies and NGOs in Liberia previously this year.

Microsoft

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development 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.[130672]

DFID undertook a major upgrade of its systems in the period 2000–02 and the resulting licence fees paid to Microsoft takes account of this. The figures are:

£
2000–01223,4511
2001–02162,849
2002–0355,000
1 includes ASSIST 2000 Upgrade Project licence fees
Our budgets for future years (providing we continue with Microsoft) will be approximately £60,000 for both 2003/04 and 2004/05.

Middle East/North Africa

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on his assessment of the link between accountable regimes and economic growth in (a) the Middle East and (b) North Africa; and what action his Department is taking to promote good governance in the regions. [129892]

The Middle East and North Africa compares badly with other regions of similar incomes and characteristics in terms of public accountability and inclusiveness. A number of reports have been published recently which highlight the relationship between accountable governance and economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa. The 2002 "Arab Human Development Report" concluded that social and economic development was being hampered by deeply rooted shortcomings in the structures of governance in the region. More recently, a World Bank's report, "Better Governance in the Middle East and North Africa", noted that income growth per head averaged just 0.5 per cent. across the region in the period 1985–2000, and at the heart of this poor record was a noticeable "governance gap". Taken together, these reports provide a substantial body of evidence to support the view that improving accountable governance, strengthening political and economic freedoms, and enhancing public participation are prerequisites for lasting economic, social and human development in the region.Promoting better governance is a key feature of DFID's bilateral programme to the region: this is set out as a central theme of our soon-to-be-published Regional Assistance Plan. Examples include support to public administration and civil service reform in both Jordan and the Palestinian Territory. We are also working to help ensure that the European Commission's development programme takes proper account of the need to improve governance and respect for human rights, and reduce poverty, in partner countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many Questions directed to the Department remain unanswered. [130760]

According to our records there are 17 outstanding questions (not answered by their due date in the question book, which is two days from date of tabling) from before the Conference recess.Of these, 16 including this one, are due to be published on 6 October. The reply to the outstanding one will be published shortly.

Reproductive Health Services

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his reply of 16 July 2003, Official Report, column 332W, what percentage of the money spent on reproductive health services, is being spent on (a) HIV/AIDS programmes and (b) family planning; and in which countries. [130514]

The Department for International Development spent £31 million in 2002–03 on activities within the Sector-Wide Approaches (SWAPS) that had support for reproductive health services as one of their objectives (the reply of 16 July 2003, Official Report, column 332W refers).The breakdown is as follows:

CountryTitleExpenditure 2002–03 (£)
GhanaHealth Grant3,500,000
MalawiHealth SWAP163,126
MozambiqueEssential Medicines4,700,000
TanzaniaHealth Sector Programme9,489,992
ZambiaHealth SWAP7,621,863
BangladeshSHAPLA1 WB Time Slicing5,000,000
CambodiaHealth Sector Support226,835
Total30,701,816
1 Support for Health and Population for the Less Advanced Programme: World Bank Time Slicing.
DFID support for reproductive health is wide ranging. It covers HIV/AIDS programmes, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and maternal and adolescent health. Reproductive health also encompasses the services for family planning, contraception and childbearing that make an important contribution to increasing women's choice and opportunity and to preventing unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Family planning services also provide an important opportunity to improve sexual health and in particular to increase women's access to methods that help prevent HIV infection. The £31 million expenditure for 2003–03 cannot therefore be apportioned between HIV/AIDS and Family Planning, as many reproductive health programmes and projects contribute to both objectives (for example through the provision of information on family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention or the provision of condoms).The figures above include only the DFID contributions to SWAPS. If our other expenditure on Reproductive Health and HIV,'AIDS (for example through multilateral organisations) were included the amounts would be considerably higher.

Russian Republics

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much international aid was received directly by the Russian constituent republics of (a) Ingushetia and (b) North Ossetia-Alania in each year since 1997; how much of this was delivered in (i) money and (ii) kind; what the UK's share of aid was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [131327]

Since 1997, DFID has contributed over £15 million for humanitarian assistance to support refugees and internally displaced people in the North Caucasus (includes Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Dagestan). Our funding is channelled through selected international agencies such as the UN and the International Red Cross.For 2003–04, DFID has so far approved funds of £1.8 million for humanitarian assistance to support for both refugees and internally displaced people in the North Caucasus.Since 1997, the EC contribution to the North Caucasus has been euro 111 million.We do not have a breakdown of the total amount of international aid provided to Ingushetia and North Ossetia-Alania.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will list the major development programmes launched in (a) Ingushetia and (b) North Ossetia-Alania in each year since 1997; how long these programmes have run; what his Department's involvement has been in each of these programmes; and what assessment his Department has made of the impact of each programme. [131328]

The UK's development programme for Russia aims, through its work with Federal Government, to benefit all regions of the country. However we consider that the North Caucasus is a medium term emergency. The security environment doesn't lend itself to developmental programmes. Therefore, the UK's assistance is focused only on humanitarian programmes. The UN agencies and the ICRC do work with the Russian Authorities to try and build capacity in certain areas, which we support.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the humanitarian situation in (a) North Ossetia-Alania, (b) Ingushetia, (c) the Ferghana Valley and (d) South Ossetia and their (i) direct and (ii) indirect sources; and if he will make a statement. [131329]

The overall humanitarian situation in North Ossetia-Alania and Ingushetia remains acute. People affected by the instability in Chechnya are facing their fifth extremely difficult winter amid rising tensions in the region.Four years after the resumption of hostilities in the Republic of Chechnya, more than 80,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Chechnya still live in tents or unsuitable shelters in the neighbouring Republic of Ingushetia. In North Ossetia, there are 30,000 Georgian refugees living in poor conditions. In Chechnya, the situation is worse. According to a recent UN report, more than 100,000 of the about 800,000 people living there are still displaced from their homes and surviving indoor conditions.The UK travel restriction to the North Caucasus prevents DFID from making direct assessments of the humanitarian situation. DFID makes regular missions to Moscow and Georgia to meet with key international organisations and government officials who work in the area. Our humanitarian support to the North Caucasus is channelled through the UN, ICRC and international NGO's.DFID has made no independent assessment of the humanitarian situation in the Ferghana Valley. The Department's representatives in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are in regular contact with the UN organisations active in the Valley as well as with the governments concerned.In South Ossetia the humanitarian situation remains acute. A de facto government is functioning. There is little rule of law. The area is economically dependent upon smuggled goods from Russia. Local Ossetians are migrating to North Ossetia due to economic hardship and lawlessness. The UN, Organisation for Security and Co-operation for Europe (OSCE), the EU is active in South Ossetia. The UN through its UNOCHA and (formerly the UNHCR) is responsible for humanitarian assessments and aid provision. The EC has participated in the Joint Control Commission (JCC) on South Ossetia since 1991. This quadripartite body (with Georgia, South Ossetia, North Ossetia and Russia) is conducted by the OSCE. The OSCE continues the search for a settlement. The EU provided in 2000 and 2001 Euro 1.045 million to the Georgia Border Guards, aimed at protecting the unarmed OSCE monitors at the border between Georgia and Chechnya. Most International Organisations formerly involved left as the security situation deteriorated.We are aware of the situation and we have made small contributions through the multilateral organisations and Small Grants Scheme.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will list the major development programmes launched in South Ossetia in each year since 1997; how long these programmes have run; what his Department's involvement has been in each of these programmes; and what assessment his Department has made of the impact of each programme. [131332]

The UK's development programme for Georgia aims to benefit all regions of the country. However the difficulties of working in unresolved conflict situations do not lend themselves to development programmes. The EU has provided through its annual allocations from the 1997 and 1999 budgets a total of Euro 7.5 million to stimulate the peace process between South Ossetia and the Georgian Government.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the total amount of international aid received directly by the Georgian autonomous region of South Ossetia was in each year since 1997; how much of this was delivered in (a) money and (b) kind; what the United Kingdom's share of aid was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [131331]

Since the cease-fire agreement concluded in 1992 to bring the fighting to an end, the legal situation over the status of South Ossetia remains grid locked between the Georgian Government and South Ossetia authorities and is unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future. We will continue to support the efforts of the international community to bring about a lasting settlement to this situation.We do not have a breakdown of the total amount of international aid provided to South Ossetia. We do however make small contributions annually through our Small Grants Scheme managed by our embassy in Tbilisi. We have not provided any major assistance to South Ossetia.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's involvement in the United Nations' Ferghana Valley Development Programme; what discussions (a) he and (b) members of his Department have had with representatives of the (i) Tajik, (ii) Turkmen and (iii) Uzbek governments about the United Nations' Ferghana Valley Development Programme; and if he will make a statement. [131330]

The UN Ferghana Valley Development Programme dates back to early 2000, and since then there has been no British involvement. The programme attempts to link the three neighbouring states (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) through a number of cross border development initiatives. There has been little progress due to the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the Uzbek. Government.

Smoking

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development (1) what discussions he has had with developing countries about health programmes to reduce smoking; and what assessment has been made of the use of UK programmes in developing countries; [131204](2) what estimate his Department has made of the healthcare costs associated with the growth in smoking in developing countries; [131205](3) what discussions his Department has had with developing countries on

(a) using taxation to reduce consumption of tobacco products and (b) developing public education campaigns on the dangers of smoking; [131206]

(4) what measures his Department has taken to educate the public in least developed countries on the dangers of smoking. [131237]

We do not have direct discussions with or provide support to countries in this area, but work through the World Health Organisation (WHO) and also support the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This convention was adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2003 and has been signed by 56 countries so far, including many developing countries. The convention requires countries that have signed it to implement comprehensive tobacco control programmes and strategies at the national, regional and local levels. These include promoting treatment programmes to help people stop smoking, education to prevent people from starting and measures to prohibit sales of tobacco products to minors. The convention recognises that tax and price measures are an important way of reducing tobacco consumption, particularly in young people, and requires signatories to consider public health objectives when implementing tax and price policies on tobacco products.This year we plan to transfer a total of £12.5 million to WHO. For the calendar year 2002, WHO spent $4.1 million of its regular budget and $10.4 million of extra-budgetary funds on tobacco-related work, from a total expenditure of $464 million in 2002.

South Asia

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on aid programmes funded by the Department in (a) India, (b) Bangladesh and (c) Pakistan in the last five years. [131010]

DFID's country programme in India is governed by the Country Strategy Paper published in 2000. We run a nationwide programme, which covers the whole of India, and we also have state-level programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. Our main partners are the Indian Government; focus state governments and non-governmental organisations. The principal objectives of DFID's work in India under the current strategy are to have partnerships with selected state governments, to support economic reform, services, empowerment of poor, especially minority groups, and better management of the natural and physical environment. We are currently revising our country strategy in India.In Pakistan we support priorities agreed following reengagement with the Government in 2000. The programme has three objectives: creating economic conditions for poverty reduction; improving health outcomes; and improving education outcomes. In Pakistan too we are preparing a new Country Assistance Plan to support the Government of Pakistan's own Poverty Reduction Strategy due for publication in October 2003. DFID works in Pakistan with a wide range of partners including Government departments and non-government organisations, and closely coordinates its activities with those of other multilateral and bilateral development agencies.In Bangladesh we work in accordance with our Country Strategy published in 1998. Here too a new County Assistance Plan is about to be published which gives priority to advancing the position of women and girls. The new Country Plan supports the Government of Bangladesh's own national poverty strategy and focuses DFID activity arc und seven areas of importance: support to the private sector, land transport, maternal mortality, primary education, access to food and water and Governance. DFID works in Bangladesh Government departments and non-government organisations and closely coordinates its activities with those of other multi-lateral and development agencies.In 2002–03, DFID spent £161 million, £39 million and £77 million in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively.

Southern Africa

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what emergency aid has been provided to southern Africa in recent months. [129444]

Since September 2001, DFID has provided approximately £120 million in emergency assistance to the six countries in Southern Africa (Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) that have been most affected by the humanitarian crisis over the past two years. Most of this assistance (approximately £90 million) has been provided to Zimbabwe and Malawi, where needs have been greatest. In addition, we estimate that our contribution to commitments by the European Commission to date is around £26 million.Since January this year, over £35 million has been spent on supporting continuing humanitarian operations, particularly in Zimbabwe, but also covering Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Mozambique. We intend to programme a further £40 million of emergency aid to Zimbabwe this year, building on our existing programme commitments, in response to the serious humanitarian needs there. We, along with the UN and other donors, will ensure that our humanitarian assistance continues to be distributed according to need and without political interference.Where immediate humanitarian needs have reduced, as we have seen this year in Zambia and Malawi, we have shifted our support to programmes that support recovery from the crisis, including through provision of seeds and fertilisers. In Malawi, some £9.3 million has been committed for these activities—again with the objective of improving food security at the household level and ensuring that safety nets that cover an appropriate mix of cash, food and subsidised inputs, are available for the most vulnerable. We have also provided seeds and fertilisers in Mozambique and Swaziland and responded to UN calls for support to seed fairs in those countries.Emergency assistance is still needed this year in areas of southern Mozambique, and in Lesotho where the failure of the winter harvest has put more people at risk. We are working to identify where the greatest needs are in these countries and will provide emergency aid to help cover the greatest gaps.DFID is also supporting the work of the UN Regional Inter-Agency Co-ordination and Support team in Johannesburg, which works to co-ordinate and harmonise UN and NGO efforts across the region. We have provided £2 million of support to this team so far, and are looking to continue this support until the end of the current phase of the UN Consolidated Appeal, which ends in June 2004.

Vietnam

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on aid to Vietnam. [131239]

DFID is finalising a new Country Assistance Plan for Vietnam, which will be published in November. The key objectives of this plan are: more effective, efficient and equitable use of public financial resources; promotion of socially inclusive development and greater accountability of Government to citizens; and support to economic and social transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. These objectives will support the Government of Vietnam's own Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS).Under the new CAP, DFID's assistance is planned to increase from £26 million in 2003–04 to £60 million in 2005–06. This increase is in response to the Government of Vietnam's success in and continuing commitment to, reducing poverty. The incidence of poverty has halved from 58 per cent. in 1992 to 29 per cent. in 2002.DFID's current assistance to Vietnam includes supporting the development of primary education, the building and maintenance of rural roads, public financial management reform, state owned enterprise reform, reducing HIV infection, and area based rural development in the Northern Mountains and Central

Region. We will continue to work in these areas. We are also directly supporting the Government of Vietnam's reform programme under the CPRGS by providing budget support through the World Bank Poverty Reduction Support Credit. In addition we are supporting the development of the National Assembly, and a project to analyse how market institutions can achieve better development outcomes for the poor. Our assistance is mainly co-financed with other donors.

Wto Meeting (Cancun)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what proposals the department has put forward for increasing the importance attributed to protecting the environment in taking forward world trade reform at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Cancun. [130295]

The UK, with DTI and DEFRA as the lead departments, has taken a central role in determining the European Union's negotiating position on trade and environment issues. Despite the collapse of Cancun, we will continue to work towards achieving a successful outcome at the WTO and jointly ensuring the implementation of the WSSD Commitments.One of the WTO trade and environment negotiating mandates is to clarify the relationship between WTO rules and specific trade obligations in Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The EU's overall aim is to ensure that these two bodies of international law are mutually supportive. With a view to better informing the WTO debate, at Cancun, the EU proposed that agreement be reached to formalise the observer role of MEAs, UNEP and UNCTAD in the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment Special Sessions. The text under discussion when the Conference collapsed had taken on board the EU view by making clear that MEAs and UN agencies should be given observer status in the Committee on Trade and Environment Special Sessions.The EU has also been the main driver supporting further work on eco-labelling and increased market access for environmental goods. At Cancun, the EU proposed that agreement should be reached on a new WTO Committee on Trade and Environment work programme on labelling for environmental purposes. However, there was little support for this from other WTO members and at the time of the collapse of the talks, no progress had been made on this issue.

Deputy Prime Minister

Building Regulations/Standards

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the impact of Part M of the Building Regulations on the design of new housing. [130981]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has recently commissioned research to evaluate the impact of the changes to Part M introduced in 1999. The work is expected to begin before Christmas, and to report in two years time.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance he has given local authorities to ensure the consistent application of Part M of the Building Regulations by building control officers. [130982]

Each Part of the Building Regulations consists of a, usually small, number of functional requirements. Guidance on the application of the requirements is provided by a statutory 'Approved Document'. Each such document states that it is intended to provide guidance for some of the more common building situations, but recognises that there may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements, and advises builders and developers that "… there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained in an Approved Document if you prefer to meet the relevant requirement in some other way."Every building in its site context is different and there must therefore be room for discretion and adaptation to local circumstances. Nor is it possible in a usable guidance document to illustrate an acceptable solution for the almost infinite variety of building situations. Absolute consistency of application of any part of the Building Regulations is thus neither achievable nor desirable, and reliance must be placed on the professionalism and competence of the building control community.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many instances there have been of enforcement action against builders for breaches of Part M of the Building Regulations in the last three years; and with what results. [130983]

Responsibility for enforcement of the Building Regulations rests with local authorities. Data on enforcement action are not collected centrally, and could not be provided at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what amendments he proposes to make to Part M of the Building Regulations. [130984]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects to announce the publication of amendments to Part M of the Building Regulations relating to buildings other than dwellings shortly. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister issued a consultation document on the proposed amendments in November 2002, and officials have since then, with the assistance of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, been finalising the new Approved Document. The amendments will extend the application of Part M to work to existing buildings, reflect the contents where appropriate of British Standard BS 8300:2001 'Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people—Code of Practice', and complement the objectives of Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 relating to accessibility of goods, facilities, services and premises.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will extend the period in which a builder can be sued for poor workmanship. [131305]

I have been asked to reply.The period within which a civil action must be commenced against a builder for poor workmanship is subject to the Limitation Act 1980 (unless the terms of an individual contract specify otherwise). In July 2002, the Government announced its acceptance in principle of the recommendations for reform of the 1980 Act contained in the Law Commission report "Limitation of Actions", subject to further consideration of certain aspects. Legislation will be introduced when an opportunity arises.The Commission proposed a core limitation regime that would apply to the majority of claims for a remedy for a wrong or the enforcement of a right. In broad terms, a claim would have to be brought within a primary limitation period of three years from the date on which the claimant knows (or ought reasonably to know) the facts giving rise to the claim, the identity of the defendant, and that any injury, loss or damage was significant. No claim could be brought after the expiry of a 10-year "longstop" period, which normally would run from the date on which the cause of action arose. At present in a simple contract claim the limitation period is six years from the date the cause of action arose.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received in the last 12 months on the buildmark warranty scheme operated by the National House-Building Council. [1313061

Over the last 12 months, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received about 50 letters from hon. Members and from members of the public raising points about the Buildmark warranty scheme. This is a non-statutory scheme ran by the National House Building Council (NHBC), which is an independent company, limited by guarantee. Officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister inform NHBC senior management of the key points raised in correspondence, to assist them in their monitoring of the scheme.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to amend the law regarding compulsory purchase orders. [130987]

Part 7 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill, currently before Parliament, includes provisions to amend the planning compulsory purchase power at section 226 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and to introduce a new loss payment to enhance compulsory purchase compensation. A further six amendments to the Bill were tabled on 17 September 2003 to provide for improvements to compulsory purchase procedures and compensation arrangements. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will consult shortly on the details of a further proposed amendment to the Bill relating to advance payments of compensation for land subject to mortgage.The Law Commission is also considering how best to codify, consolidate and modernise the existing complex and convoluted legislative base, and is expected to produce its final recommendations in January 2004.

Consultancy Contracts

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the five highest value consultancy contracts relating to (a) council house privatization and (b) stock transfer for proposals; and what payments have been in each case in each of the last three years. [130895]

Information on costs relating to Best Value studies, decent home delivery option appraisals or housing transfer advice is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Department maintains a recommended list of consultants to carry out (a) Best Value studies and (b) council house privatisation studies. [130946]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not maintain lists of consultants to carry out Best Value studies, decent home delivery option appraisals or housing transfer advice.

Domestic Violence

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what action his Department is taking to help victims of domestic violence. [129449]

Tackling domestic violence, and supporting those who are victims of domestic violence, is taken very seriously across Government.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced at the end of last year a £7 million capital investment programme through the Housing Corporation to extend and renovate the national network of women's refuges in England. Initial allocations for 2003–04 were agreed in conjunction with the Housing Corporation in March this year and it is hoped that further schemes will be supported in the next two years.The Supporting People programme, which begins on 1 April, will put in place a new integrated policy and funding framework for housing-related support services, including those for people experiencing domestic violence. Current annual expenditure is £34 million for a total of 5,000 places. Local authorities have now submitted their shadow Supporting People strategies. These are currently being analysed and will provide valuable data on the supply of refuge and support services for people experiencing domestic violence, so helping to inform and direct future action.Supporting People guides have also been issued on addressing the accommodation and support needs of households experiencing domestic violence; and two dedicated co-ordinators are working with providers and local authorities to ensure that the sector is prepared for the new programme.In July 2002, the main homelessness provisions of the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England) Order 2002 were brought into force. These required local housing authorities to take a more strategic approach to preventing and tackling homelessness, placed stronger duties on authorities to help homeless people, and extended the groups of homeless applicants who have a priority need for accommodation, including, among others, people vulnerable as a result of fleeing their home because of violence. The Homelessness Directorate has allocated £70 million in 2003–04 to local authorities and other agencies to help them address

homelessness. This will include some support for domestic violence schemes where local authorities have identified this as a priority.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in partnership with Comic Relief, plans to support the introduction of a national freephone helpline, linked to a 'refuges online' database to assist victims of domestic violence which it is hoped will be operational before the end of the year.

Euro

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what cumulative spending by all local authorities has been in each year in preparing for United Kingdom entry to the euro; how much he plans to allocate for spending by all local authorities on preparations for United Kingdom entry to the euro for each year from the current financial year up to and including 2005–06; and what estimates he has made of the cumulative total costs to all local authorities of changeover to the European Single Currency. [1316051

Details of public sector expenditure to date on changeover planning were included in the third outline National Changeover Plan, published on 9 June 2003. Copies of the document are available in the Library of the House.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expects no significant costs to local authorities at this stage and there are no plans for additional allocation of funds. The guidance to local authorities, which was released on 17 June, advises them to undertake sensible risk management and business planning for the possibility of a euro changeover. All the evidence from the euro area suggests that such early planning can significantly reduce costs of any changeover.In the event of any changeover, the total cost to local authorities will depend upon the circumstances and approach taken by individual councils. The Government would look with local authorities at the pressures they face.

High Hedges

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to propose legislation to deal with fast-growing high hedges; and if he will make a statement. [130881]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 17 September 2003, Official Report, columns 859–60.

Homelessness

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many families have claimed to be homeless in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England, in each year since 1997; [128711](2) how many people were homeless in

(a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England, in each year since 1997. [128714]

Information collected is in respect of households, rather than persons, and is not available below local authority level. The available information

reported by South Tyneside MBC, and all councils comprising the North East region and nationally is presented as follows. The term "homelessness acceptances" means those applicants whom a local housing authority have accepted as being eligible for assistance, homeless through no fault of their own and who have a priority need for accommodation. The priority need categories were extended by Order in July 2002 to broaden the safety net available for homeless people.

Homelessness Decisions

Homelessness Acceptances

South Tyneside

North East Region

England

South Tyneside

North East Region

England

199714412,800246,1701264,420102,000
1998

1206

11,730250,960

1166

4,370104,630
199926612,440249,1102124,830105,370
200024612,100252,2902015,060111,340
200137012,320260,1703065,470118,560
200243014,210273,4803646,420124,880

1 South Tyneside reported in only three quarters of 1998.

Notes:

1. Decisions include those where applicant household was found to be ineligible for assistance under the homelessness provisions of housing legislation.

2. Figures for the North East and England include estimates for missing data, and have been rounded to the nearest 10.

3. Acceptances refers to households found to be eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need.

Source:

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister P1(E) quarterly housing activity returns

Housing

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 15 September, ref 129306, for what reasons the allocation of additional funds for additional investment in local authority housing stock under the Sustainable Communities Plan did not include the option for a local authority to retain ownership and democratic control. [131012]

The Government believes that the benefit from additional resources will be maximised if the landlord function is separated from the authorities broader strategic functions. The three options offering additional investment—stock transfer, Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMOs)—all provide this.They also ensure that tenants have a greater role in the future management of their homes.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will grant the Rowner housing estate in Gosport eligibility for his schemes for special support. [128156]

The Government Office for the South East is currently working with Gosport's Local Strategic Partnership and Hampshire county council to help resolve the key issues around the Rowner estate. At present the partnership is in its infancy and as such is debating proposals to tackle the root causes of the problems surrounding the Rowner estate. The Government Office is in a position to provide advice during this process to the Local Strategic Partnership and Hampshire county council on any schemes that the Rowner estate may be eligible for.

Local Government

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will estimate the level of area cost adjustment for each local authority in the West Midland region for the 2003–04 financial year using average pay levels for the West Midland region as a basis. [131360]

ACA
AuthorityEducatiorPSS: children and younger adultsPSS: older peoplePoliceFireHighway maintenanceEPCS
Shropshire0.9700.9720.9680.9680.9680.9760.976
Telford and Wrekin0.9700.9720.9690.9690.9690.9760.976
Staffordshire0.9810.9830.9800.9800.9800.9850.985
Stoke-on-Trent0.9760.9770.9740.9740.9740.9800.980
Herefordshire0.9640.9660.9620.9620.9620.9710.971
Worcestershire0.9860.9870.9850.9850.9850.9880.988
Warwickshire1.0291.0291.0321.0351.0361.0311.031
Wolverhampton0.9950.9970.9960.9991.0001.0031.003
Walsall0.9720.9760.9710.9740.9750.9840.984
Dudley0.9790.9820.9790.9820.9830.9900.990
Sandwell0.9910.9930.9910.9940.9950.9991.000
Solihull1.0551.0531.0591.0621.0631.0511.052
Coventry1.0301.0301.0331.0361.0371.0311.032
Birmingham1.0321.0321.0351.0381.0391.0331.033
Note:ACA factors estimated relative to the West Midlands averageThere are two parts to the ACA: the labour cost adjustment (LCA) and the rates cost adjustment (RCA). To produce the ACA factors calculated in the table, individual LCA factors have been calculated for each upper tier authority in the West Midlands. These factors have been rebased so that they are relative to the West Midlands regional average and used in the above ACA calculation.As a result, these ACA figures are not directly comparable to the current ACA figures because the West Midlands region is not used as the basis for ACA calculations. No lower limit is applied to the LCA figures calculated in the table, in the interest of providing illustrative figures for every authority.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact of regional pay in public services upon the area cost adjustment used in revenue support grant calculations. [131368]

In his Budget statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the Government would be giving increased emphasis to the regional and local elements of public sector pay. As a first and immediate step, the terms of reference or remit letters of the Pay Review Bodies have been modified to require them to have regard to regional/local labour markets and their effects on recruitment and retention. The ability to recruit and retain staff in every location is crucial to high quality public services. Staff shortages, resulting from an inability to recruit and retain staff with the requisite skills in the right numbers in specific locations, are currently concentrated in certain areas, mainly but not exclusively in parts of London and the south-east. A stronger local and regional element to pay is one important tool to address these issues.

The table gives the area cost adjustment (ACA) values calculated for each upper tier authority in the West Midlands region, relative to the West Midlands average. Because we no longer use average wages as the basis of the ACA, the figures are relative to the average labour cost adjustment for the West Midlands region.The area cost adjustment already directs grant to areas with higher wages in recognition of the increased recruitment and retention cost experienced there. Any effect of regional public service pay will be reflected in the pay cost evidence that we use in calculating the area cost adjustment.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many prosecutions have taken place using the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982; and if he will make a statement. [128798]

I have been asked to reply.Persons proceeded against under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 cannot be separately identified on the Home Office Court Proceedings database.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent estimates he has made on the costs of re-organising local government in the (a) North West, (b) North East and (c) Yorkshire and Humberside as a part of his proposals to set up regional assemblies. [131678]

The cost of re-organising local government in the three regions will be dependent on the extent of the changes recommended by the Boundary Committee for England and subsequent decisions made by the newly created authorities about their organisational structure and levels of service provision.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much central government funding was allocated to each local authority in recognition of residents receiving (a) disability living allowance, (b) attendance allowance and (c) minimum income guarantee in the latest year for which figures are available. [130414]

Elderly people in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance are taken into account in the older people social services formula spending share, although it is not possible to provide a detailed breakdown of how much money local authorities receive as a direct result of this.Local housing authorities have a statutory duty to offer means tested disabled facilities grants (DFGs) to eligible applicants who require adaptations to help them live independently in their own homes. The grants are available to homeowners and tenants in both the private and social rented sectors.The Government meets 60 per cent. of local authority expenditure incurred on DFGs, with the remaining 40 per cent. being met from the authority's own resources. The budget for this grant for English authorities in 2003–04 is £99 million compared with £88 million in 2002–03 and £56 million in 1997–98. The allocation of these resources to local housing authorities takes into account the numbers of people claiming DLA and attendance allowance within each local authority.A table showing each English local housing authority's share of DFG resources from the national budget for 2003–04 is available in the Libraries of the House.

Planning

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what procedures are open to residents to seek an independent determination of planning applications involving departure from the local plan where the local authority is both the land owner and the planning authority; and if he will make a statement. [131609]

The procedures dealing with development undertaken by local authorities are set out in the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992. Guidance on these regulations is given in Department of Environment (DOE) Circular 19/92. The general principle underlying these regulations is that the local planning authorities must make planning applications in the same way as any other person and must follow the same procedures as would be applicable to everyone.Any local authority development proposals or development on authority owned land which are not in accordance with the provisions of the local development plan, must also be notified to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister so that he can consider whether to "call in" the application for his own determination. If consent is granted for a development undertaken by a local planning authority, the only recourse remaining to any aggrieved third party is to apply for judicial review if they believe the decision was wrong in law or to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate if they consider there has been maladministration by the local authority.

Property Rentals

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with groups representing tenants about the feasibility of establishing a Government-sponsored bond scheme for those renting property. [131128]

Later this year the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister plan to hold a seminar between officials and representatives of groups with an interest in tenancy deposits (including tenants), to discuss the possibility of legislative measures for deposit handling in the context of the Law Commission's proposals for tenure review. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will continue to consult interested parties on any further proposals.

Regional Assemblies

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) on what basis the assessment was made in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", that elected regional assemblies needed at least 25 members in order to provide members for the executive while retaining sufficient backbench members for effective scrutiny but set an upper limit of 35 members for assemblies; [131545](2) on what basis the assessment was made in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", that for elected regional assemblies to be representative of different political views and different parts of a region 25 members was the minimum needed to secure a representative assembly using proportional representation. [131546]

Elected regional assemblies will be strategic bodies with an efficient and focused membership of between 25 and 35 elected members. They will have a similar role to that of the Greater London Authority, which has a Mayor and 25 assembly Members.The Government expects that elected regional assemblies will have an executive of at least three members and a maximum of six, including the leader. The Government believes that this leaves a sufficient number of members to exercise the scrutiny function.Approximately two thirds of elected members will be constituency members, the other third will be regional members elected from a regional list. This form of proportional representation will ensure that the assembly is representative of the region. Fewer than 25 members would make it difficult to reflect the vote proportionately. Membership will be larger where population is greater up to a maximum of 35. Any larger size would risk compromising the strategic role of Elected Regional Assemblies and could cause confusion between this and the separate representative and service delivery role of local authorities. Elected regional assemblies will also be expected to involve regional stakeholders in their work, which will help ensure that different views are taken into account.

To as the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will place in the Library the responses he received to the soundings exercise to gauge opinion on the proposed regional assemblies. [131679]

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 16 June that copies of the summary document "Your Region, Your Say" were available in the Libraries of both Houses, along with copies of the 1,133 responses from representative organisations. Copies of the 7,132 responses from individuals are held by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and can be viewed on request, except for those that requested that their responses be held in confidence.

Revenue Support Grant

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what base year was used to calculate the level of visitor numbers when setting the Revenue Support Grant for 2003–04. [130897]

The 2003–04 Local Government Finance Settlement included estimates of day visitors and overnight visitors.The estimates of day visitors were based on research using information from the Leisure Day Visits Survey 1988–89, 1991 Census, 1991 Survey of Visits to Tourist Attractions, 1991 Census of Employment and other information about urban areas, National Parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and official bathing beaches. The information used was that available to the Secretary of State for National Heritage on 1 November 1993.The estimates of overnight visitors were generally based on information from the United Kingdom Tourism Surveys (1993 to 2001), for domestic visitors; and from the International Passenger Surveys (1999 to 2001) and the 1991 Census for foreign visitors.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he made of visitor numbers to Worcester City when calculating the Revenue Support Grant for 2003–04. [130898]

The figure used in the calculation of the 2003–04 Local Government Finance Settlement for the annual number of day visitors to Worcester City was 2,188,000. Overnight visitors are not included in the calculation for district councils.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he next plans to assess visitor numbers used in the Revenue Support Grant allocation. [130899]

A review of the visitor indicators used in the calculation of Formula Spending Shares is planned to commence early in 2004.The 2003–04 Local Government Finance Settlement saw the introduction of a new formula. To give some stability, it was announced there would be no further Formula Spending Share formula changes until 2006–07 at the earliest, except where there are changes in the functions of councils, or the financing of particular services. During this time data will continue to be updated.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of (a) the night-time economy and (b) visitor numbers for county towns when setting the Revenue Support Grant. [130900]

Overnight visitors to an area are included in the calculations for the Police and Highway Maintenance Formula Spending Shares. Day visitors are included in calculations for the Police, Highway Maintenance and Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services Formula Spending Share.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he will use 2001 census data to determine country of birth indicators when allocating revenue support grants in 2004–05. [130902]

Data from the 1991 census will be used to determine the country of birth indicators in the calculation of the 2004–05 Local Government Finance Settlement.

Church Commissioners

Rights Of Way

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps have been taken to assess whether any land held by the Church of England may be suitable for dedicating for access under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. [131573]

No such assessment has been made. The Commissioners are committed to protecting public rights of way over their land and ensuring that such rights are respected. Any proposals for additional rights that were compatible with the Commissioners' trustee obligations and had no adverse effect on the land or tenants would be looked at on their merits.

Constitutional Affairs

Organ Donors

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will amend the Electoral Registration form to allow persons to indicate whether they are willing to be organ donors. [130989]

The framework governing the purposes for which the electoral registration form and the electoral register may be used, which was introduced last year after lengthy discussion, complies with data protection and human rights legislation, and my Department has no plans to amend the electoral registration form to allow it to be used for additional purposes. We concur with the view of the independent Electoral Commission that additional material unrelated to electoral issues should not normally be included with registration forms.

Electoral Register

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what action he is taking to tackle the problem of citizens disappearing from the electoral register; and what assistance he gives local authorities. [131423]

The Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 introduced in February 2001 a number of changes to voter registration procedures, including 'rolling registration', aimed both at making it easier to register to vote and at achieving more accurate and up to date electoral registers. The independent Electoral Commission is to undertake research into the effects of the changes to registration procedures in order to identify the extent of under registration, which the Government will consider carefully. The Electoral Commission is responsible for offering advice and guidance to electoral registration

officers on these and other matters and will continue to encourage registration through various promotional activities.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what obligations local authorities have to ensure UK citizens remain on the electoral register. [131424]

Electoral Registration Officers, appointed by local authorities, are required to compile and maintain accurate electoral registers. They must register all eligible persons and have powers to seek information from any person who they consider is eligible to be registered. It is an offence for any person to fail to comply with a request for information from, or to give false information to, an Electoral Registration Officer.

Asbestos

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much has been spent by his Department and its agencies on (a) asbestos surveys and (b) the management and removal of asbestos since 1 January 2001; and what budget is available to (i) commission asbestos surveys and (ii) manage and remove asbestos from buildings in (A) 2003 and (B) 2004. [130914]

My Department's HQ Estate has spent £5,801 on asbestos surveys and £10,396 on the management and removal of asbestos since 2001. Funding for commissioning surveys and the management and removal of asbestos from the estate in 2003 and 2004 will be available from existing maintenance budgets.The Court Service is unable to provide the information and figures without incurring disproportionate costs. They are preparing to comply with the 2004 duty by identifying where in buildings asbestos is present, assessing the risk and, depending on its condition and whether it is likely to be disturbed, taking action to manage the risk.

Catherine Meyer

To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans he has to make representations to the Chief Justice of Germany concerning the case of Catherine Meyer. [131740]

Western Circuit

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) who was consulted about the proposal to remove Hampshire from the Western Circuit; when the decision will be made; and if he will make a statement; [129035](2) what representations he has received on the proposal to remove Hampshire from the Western Circuit; [129043](3) what factors underlay the proposal to

(a) remove Hampshire from the Western Circuit and (b) include it in a South Eastern tier; and if he will make a statement. [129044]

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on the Western Circuit of his proposal to move Winchester Crown Court into the South Eastern Circuit; [129017](2) what assessment he has made of the impact of his proposal to move Winchester Crown Court into the South Eastern Circuit on the administration of justice in the Salisbury Constituency; [129018](3) what representations he has received from the judiciary about his proposal to remove Winchester Crown Court into the South Eastern Circuit; [129019](4) what consultation he proposes to hold with hon. Members for constituencies in

(a) Wiltshire and (b) Dorset about his proposals to remove Winchester Crown Court from the Western to the South Eastern Circuit; [129020]

(5) where people from the Salisbury Constituency charged with (a) murder, (b) manslaughter and (c) attempted murder will be sent for trial if Winchester Crown Court is removed to the South Eastern Circuit. [129021]

The Courts Bill, which is currently before Parliament, makes provisions that will allow the Government to replace the existing 42 magistrates courts committees and the Court Service with a single executive agency, responsible for the administration of all the courts below the House of Lords. No date has yet been set for the establishment of the new unified courts agency although it will not be before April 2005.The unified courts agency will be an entirely new organisation, twice the size of either of the two services that will be subsumed within it. The Secretary of State and I have given close consideration to the regional management structure for the agency and what the boundaries of those regions should be. In this context, we paid careful attention to the "Modernising Government" White Paper of March 1999. This sets out the Government's policy that, wherever possible, the boundaries of government departments and public bodies at regional level should coincide with those of the Government Offices for the Regions. This commitment was repeated in the White Paper "Your Region, Your Choice" in May 2002.Since May 2003 the Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), officials from the Department for Constitutional Affairs and I have held meetings with the senior judiciary, representatives of the General Council of the Bar, and judges and barristers from the Western Circuit to discuss the structure of the new agency and in particular how the area currently covered by the Western Circuit should fit within that. Written submissions from judges and barristers have also been received on the subject.On 31 July 2003, the Secretary of State and I announced our decision that, at local level, the unified courts agency would have 42 management units coterminous with local government boundaries. This is in line with other criminal justice agencies such as the Police Authorities, Crown Prosecution Service and the Probation Service. There will also be seven regions.

The boundaries of these regions will be coterminous with those of the Government Offices for the Regions, with two exceptions. The Secretary of State and I have decided that the Cheshire management unit should be linked with the Wales region for the time being but that we want to review this in 2006–07 as part of a general post implementation review of the agency's working arrangements. We have asked for further work to be undertaken before deciding whether to align the Hampshire unit with the South East or South West regions. This work will cover what the impact of including Hampshire within the South East region would be on the administration of justice throughout the current Western Circuit and in particular whether there would be a need to change the way in which cases are handled in Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire. This will inform our decision, which we intend to take by 31 October 2003. I would be happy to discuss this matter with hon. Members representing constituencies in those counties.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans he has for redeployment of members of his Department out of London and the south east. [125361]

The scope for relocating Government activity is being considered by Sir Michael Lyons. His independent review was announced in the Chancellor's Budget statement on 9 April.Details of the review, including the consultation launched on 19 June, can be found on the HM Treasury website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk. Sir Michael will report his findings on the scope for relocating Departments and other public sector bodies before the end of the year.Currently, 11,215 DCA staff (out of a total of 13,455) are either based in regional locations or are in front-line customer facing roles in London and the south east. We are, in light of the Sir Michael Lyons exercise, reviewing the need for continuing to locate staff in London and the south east.

Domestic Violence

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the new forms, devised by the Safety Stakeholder Group of his Department, screening Children's Act cases for domestic violence will be brought into use; and what steps are being taken prior to the forms' introduction to ensure that relevant issues of domestic violence are brought to the attention of the court; [130516](2)what factors have influenced the date of the introduction of the new domestic violence forms for use in Children Act 1989 cases. [130656]

[holding answer 16 September 2003]: I have been asked to reply.We want to encourage contact between children and their non-resident parent where it is in the best interests of the child and safe for all family members. We encourage parents who are divorcing or separating to agree contact arrangements for their children. Most

parents do agree such arrangements. Where the courts are asked to intervene, the Children Act 1989 makes the welfare of the child its paramount concern. The courts are required to consider any harm a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering when determining what, if any, contact order to make. The court is also obliged to make a finding of fact in any case involving allegations of violence. The court must determine whether or not the alleged violence has occurred and, if so, its impact on the child. This obligation is set out in best practice guidelines issued by the Children Act Sub-Committee to the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law in spring 2001. The impact of these guidelines is being evaluated.

The court may attach supervisory conditions to an order for contact that may be for indirect rather than direct contact. We are providing £2.5 million over the next three years from the Children's Fund to extend the provision of supervised contact.

Section 120 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 amended the Children Act 1989 to make it clear that when a court is considering whether a child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm, this harm includes harm a child may suffer as a result of witnessing the ill-treatment of another person. In addition the Safety Stakeholder Group has suggested revisions to the court forms used in applications for residence, contact, specific issues and prohibited steps to highlight allegations of domestic violence. This would enable domestic violence to be raised right at the beginning of proceedings and enable the judge more effectively to determine whether, and in what terms, any order should be made on the basis of all the available facts. The revised definition of harm and the changes to the court forms to highlight domestic violence will be implemented as soon as the necessary resources are identified.

Ecclesiastical Appointments

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs for what reason his powers of appointment to ecclesiastical livings referred to in paragraph 37 of the Consultation Paper on Reforming the Office of Lord Chancellor are described as the appointment of priests, but not to the appointment of clerks in holy orders, including deacons. [131824]

A "Clerk in Holy Orders" is a generic designation, which covers those orders recognised by the Church of England, of which priests are one. The Lord Chancellor only appoints priests to those posts under his patronage.

Ethnic Minorities

To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many ethnic minorities there are in each grade in his Department. [131739]

The number of staff of minority ethnic origin by responsibility level is set out in the table below.

Ethnic Origin of Permanent Staff in the Department for Constitutional Affairs (including the Court Service and the Public Guardianship Office) by Responsibility Level as at 31 August 2003

Grade equivalent

Ethnic minority staff

White staff

Not known

Total

Ethnic minority as percentage of known ethnic origin

AA/AO6604,3262,4427,42913.2
EO3331,7637892,88515.9
HEO/SEO1311,1934591,7839.9
Grade 6/7263641795696.7
SCS081361170
Total1,1507,7273,90612,78313

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) what research he has undertaken to assess the implications of the ending of the free legal advice and representation service to ethnic minorities; and if he will make a statement; [128328](2) what factors underlay the decision to end the free legal advice and representation service to ethnic minorities; what the benefits are of the changes he is proposing; and if he will make a statement.[128329]

I have assumed that the hon. Member is referring to the effect on the services currently provided to ethnic minority clients by the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), following the proposed transfer of funding from the Home Office to the Legal Services Commission.

Closing arrears totals1
£
Courthouse/area1999–200022000–012001–022002–03
Gatesheadn/an/a461,028.08439,039.30
Newcastle upon Tyne563,330.36589,787.61979,945.41967,089.08
North Tyneside366,322.00454,551.00613.469.00587,985.00
Sunderlandn/a502,039.19600,256.41607,341.86
South Tyneside169,930.30181,144.84270,283.70358,126.63
Northumbria MCC32,008,3652,763,5053,201,5973,157,655
England and Wales227,361,076225,908,941246,481,521276,870,306
1The amount of the 'closing balance owed' that is in arrears.
2Current information collection commenced in 1999–2000 and data is not available prior to that year.
3To note: this data is incomplete, it does not include information on Houghton Le Spring.

Food Expenditure

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much has been spent on food by his Department and by each of the agencies for which it is responsible in 2002–03; what proportion of that food by value was produced in the United Kingdom; what guidance he has issued to encourage the procurement of home-produced food; and if he will make a statement. [129370]

The terms of the contract that will be awarded to the IAS following the transfer of funding from the Home Office to the Legal Services Commission have yet to be finalised. Ministers will write to the IAS in the near future, once the position is clearer.

Fine Defaulting

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what measures have been taken to prevent people defaulting on court-imposed fines. [130771]

I refer the hon. Gentlemen to the Written Ministerial Statement I gave on 25 June 2003, Official Report, column 40WS in respect of fine enforcement.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many and what value of court-imposed fines were defaulted on in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [130772]

The data are not available in the form requested.Magistrates' Court Committees (MCCs) have a responsibility to collect a range of debts imposed by both the magistrates courts and the crown court. Debt collected not only includes fines but also fees, compensation, confiscation orders, legal aid contributions and some maintenance orders. It is not yet possible to separate out only the fines from the total and thus it is also not possible to report on the number or the value of court imposed fines that were defaulted on.The available data illustrating the total value of arrears outstanding at relevant Courthouse, Northumbria MCC and national are as follows.

The majority of food is provided under catering service contracts with commercial suppliers, in addition the Department buys some food directly.Expenditure on catering service contracts in 2002–03 amounted to £2,093,265, the amount for food bought directly for the same period was £377,209.Information available for DCA HQ indicates that on average 52 per cent. of the food bought directly was produced in the UK. For food provided under catering service contracts, dependent on the type of product and time of year this proportion varies from 25 per cent. to 100 per cent.DCA is working with DEFRA to implement their guidance on local sourcing and has developed an action plan with our current catering service providers to increase the proportion of local and UK produce purchased.

Immigration Advisory Service

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what free legal representation will be available to those refused visas by overseas posts when funding is withdrawn from the Immigration Advisory Service. [128327]

The terms of the contract that will be awarded to the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) following the transfer of funding from the Home Office to the Legal Services Commission have yet to be finalised. Ministers will write to the IAS in the near future, once the position is clearer.

Expenditure for each judge's lodgings, for the years 1999–2003 inclusive
Lodging1999–20002000–012001–022002–03
Birmingham356,736.17405,865.43415,705.55432,874.74
Leicester40,964.9450,432.8944,928.7191,569.11
Lincoln35,075.3639,000.3438,385.9642,885.14
Northampton25,031.5018,109.3230,622.8717,472.17
Nottingham189,056.39218,144.54246,113.20250,807.08
Stafford104,226.10137,966.9388,366.4999,057.55
Warwick9,792.75235.004,827.920
Worcester24,001.8433,214.0455,280.0831,991.60
Leeds289,833.69376,933.30316,445.18319,626.98
Plawsworth331,201.69430,176.19326,003.36305,022.17
Sheffield322,359.72291,088.99242,090.17256,479.49
Temporary judge's lodgings (Hull)0.0014,112.2427,053.6812,515.76
Carlisle35,784.6134,554.5831,239.9322,821.63
Liverpool291,920.72233,721.22274,731.19235,575.37
Manchester340,661.18448,365.96382,005.97339,810.76
Preston213,045.95214,021.46223,802.25225,748.93
Chelmsford105,494.41107,853.64114,388.17138,508.71
Lewes142,912.21178,327.11159,481.23147,923.35
Temporary judge's lodgings (Lewes)00022,192.13
Maidstone185,689.18224,916.27206,906.43188,572.83
Norwich124,637.02186,917.83152,954.05149,283.82
Oxford59,168.8542,878.6438,768.9633,449.34
Reading112,420.32123,004.54182,071.19169,882.14
St. Albans216,451.08291,011.19224,267.65258,149.67
Caernarfon13,771.0314,652.7221,989.9610,482.15
Cardiff235,173.88317,177.84286,408.24235,232.72
Chester197,999.40268,956.26234,009.87202,777.96
Mold46,604.5748,145.8767,136.400
Swansea182,186.78213,549.28199,587.93177,590.17
Bristol213,888.24213,776.82209,010.69242,817.41
Exeter46,945.4339,512.7964,960.4965,923.56
Plymouth16,856.0517,628.5215,537.3418,527.92
Truro19,967.8719,647.5920,637.2614,123.77
Winchester255,824.13301,791.48325,776.83295,237.96
4,785,683.075,555,690.835,271.495.205,054,934.09

Judges' Lodgings

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will list for each judges' lodgings in each of the last four years (a) their total cost, (b) the number of nights they were used by judges, (c) the number of staff employed, (d) whether it is freehold and (e) in relation to (d) (i) the capital value if freehold and (ii) its surrender value if leasehold. [123202]

[holding answer 2 July 2003]: The information requested has been set out in the following tables. The individual capital values of judges' lodgings have not been provided as they are considered to be commercially confidential. The disclosure of individual property values could prejudice the Department's negotiating position when progressing any plans to rationalise the lodgings estate. The information is withheld under exemption 7 of the Code (relating to effective management and operations of the public service). No data are available for leasehold and license properties.

Number of judge nights each judges' lodgings was used for the period 1999–2003

Lodging

1999–2000

2000–01

2001–02

2002–03

Birmingham620575560717
Leicester625373109
Lincoln42465548
Northampton23204017
Nottingham201239263313
Stafford146144207161
Warwick380300
Worcester29404135
Leeds509549599576
Plawsworth554590496394
Sheffield230256303231
Temporary judge's lodgings (Hull)0459040
Carlisle59608435
Liverpool529457491518
Manchester492635581659
Preston274218277348
Chelmsford15169145142
Lewes1201256042
Temporary judge's lodgings (Lewes)00038
Maidstone12012011081
Norwich130125145120
Oxford72304024
Reading1108013112
St. Albans16523095135
Caernarfon13162610
Cardiff331426311249
Chester198199188206
Mold232080
Swansea147190190145
Bristol323235229267