(2) what contacts his Department's personnel assigned to the British provincial reconstruction team in (a) Basra and (b) Lashkar Gah have with local people on reconstruction issues; and if he will make a statement;
(3) how many of his Department's personnel were assigned to the British provincial reconstruction team in (a) Basra and (b) Lashkar Gah in each year since 2005.
The UK employs a broad range of civilian staff in support of the Governments of Iraq and Afghanistan to help develop a stable and secure environment in both countries. The Basra provincial reconstruction team (PRT) was formally established in April 2006 along with PRTs in other provinces. Since this time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has assigned one permanent member of staff and three consultants on contract to the PRT. Nine local people have been employed as contract staff. The Department for International Development (DFID) has assigned one permanent member of staff and 12 consultants, although no more than seven DFID consultants have provided capacity building support at any one time.
Over 50 staff have been employed in Afghanistan from across the Government, including the FCO, DFID and the Afghanistan Drugs Inter-Department Unit.
Activities covered by the PRT staff in both Iraq and Afghanistan include work in governance, rule of law, reconstruction and economic development. The Lashkar Gah PRT also covers counter narcotics activities. During the period 2006 to 2008, DFID is committing £7 million to quick impact projects in Helmand for reconstruction and development projects. The PRT in Helmand has issued 91 contracts in Lashkar Gah and these are delivered through local business, suppliers and non-governmental organisations.