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HOUSE OF COMMONS

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood), representing the House of Commons Commission, on how many occasions since May 1997 the staff inspector has reported on staffing levels in the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. [155347]

Mr. Kirkwood: Since May 1997 the staff inspector has reported on staffing issues in the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards on three occasions:


1. August 1997, job evaluation review of the post of Personal Assistant to the Commissioner.
2. July 1998, upgrading of the post of Personal Assistant to the Commissioner following introduction of new pay and grading structures.
3. September 2000, review of workload.

Parliamentary Works Directorate

Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood), representing the House of Commons Commission, if he will make a statement on the changes in the structure and practices of the Parliamentary Works Directorate. [155229]

Mr. Kirkwood: I understand that, in accordance with the Braithwaite Review of the Serjeant at Arms' Department, the Parliamentary Works Directorate is currently being divided. By 1 April 2001, the Works organisation, which serves both Houses of Parliament, will consist of an Estates Director concerned with strategy, long-term planning, property management and heritage and curatorial matters, while a Directorate of Works Services will be responsible for the delivery of in-year projects, the placing of contracts, maintenance and the management of capital projects.

28 Mar 2001 : Column: 623W

Further information on these arrangements will be available to hon. Members in the future edition of the Members' Handbook. The Works Helpdesk will remain available for contact by hon. Members on extension 4747.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Local Authorities

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to encourage British local authorities to share their expertise with counterparts in developing countries. [155672]

Clare Short: DFID supports the Commonwealth Local Government Forum's Good Practice Scheme. The scheme brings together local government authorities, so far mainly in the UK and Africa, to exchange best practice on local government management and services. I have recently approved a UK contribution of £2 million covering the next five years of the scheme.

Disability Issues

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to share British expertise in handling disability issues with the Governments and peoples of developing countries. [155671]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development is currently supporting more than 40 projects and programmes around the world with a focus on the rights and needs of people with disabilities. In the past year we have approved nearly £40 million of new funding for work in this area. The global drive to reduce poverty will also bring many benefits, in reducing some of the key causes of disability and improving the quality of life and opportunities for people with disabilities.

DFID's strategy on disability is set out in an issues paper published last year, called "Disability, poverty and development". We work closely with Governments, the voluntary and private sectors, and the bilateral and multilateral donor communities, to ensure that disability is addressed in the context of the fight against poverty and the realisation of human rights for all.

Sudan

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the Sudanese Government's commitment to promoting poverty eradication and development; and what her estimate is of the amount spent by the Sudanese Government on (a) health, (b) education and (c) the armed forces in the last 12 months. [155143]

Clare Short: The Sudanese Government's draft Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper will provide an opportunity to consider poverty reducing social and economic programmes. We do not have reliable estimates of the amount spent on health and education although indications suggest that allocations for social sector spending by the central Government are increasing.

28 Mar 2001 : Column: 624W

Palestinian Authority

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much economic aid has been given to the Palestinian Authority by the United Kingdom in each of the last six years. [155619]

Clare Short: The UK provides bilateral development assistance to the Palestinian Authority and, more broadly, assists Palestinians through our contributions to the EC and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Our programme with the Palestinian Authority supports sustainable economic and social development that benefits the poor. We do this by seeking to support the Middle East Peace Process and improve Palestinian health care, education, access to water and sanitation, gender equality, integration into the global economy and the effectiveness and accountability of the Palestinian Authority. We provide technical assistance rather than direct funding to the Palestinian Authority.

The breakdown of our assistance for the last six years is as follows:

UK bilateral assistance (£ million)UK multilateral assistance (EC and UNRWA)
1994-955.4(2)20.6
1995-963.518.0
1996-976.121.1
1997-986.122.7
1998-995.120.9
1999-20008.0(3)--

(2) 1994 calendar year

(3) Not yet available


PRIME MINISTER

Intelligence and Security Committee

Ms Kelly: To ask the Prime Minister when he will lay the Intelligence and Security Committee's Interim Report before Parliament. [156139]

The Prime Minister: I have today laid the Intelligence and Security Committee's Report before Parliament. Following consultation with them over matters which could not be published without prejudice to the continued discharge of the functions of the intelligence and security agencies and in accordance with the Intelligence Services Act 1994, I have excluded the Confidential Annexe.

Opinion Polling

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Prime Minister what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative analytical work his Office has commissioned from GGC/NOP since 1 May 1997; and what was (i) the cost of the contract and (ii) the specific nature of the work commissioned. [155670]

The Prime Minister: None.

Jonathan Powell

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his policy in respect of Jonathan Powell appearing before Select Committees. [155473]

The Prime Minister: Civil Servants attend select committees where appropriate.

28 Mar 2001 : Column: 625W

Cancer Consultants

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Prime Minister what responsibility he had for determining the target figure in the NHS Plan for additional non-surgical cancer consultants. [155409]

The Prime Minister: I agreed the overall targets in the NHS Plan in discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Opinion Polling

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) quantitative and (b) qualitative analytical work his Department has commissioned from GGC/NOP since 1 May 1997; and what was (i) the cost of the contract and (ii) the specific nature of the work commissioned. [155665]

Mr. Chris Smith: The only work commissioned from GGC/NOP since 1 May 1997 has been to conduct a sample of charities. The cost of the work was £293.

Colin Martin

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if Colin Martin complied with the terms of the licence granted by his Department to work on the wreck of the Hanover; and what the duration of the licence is. [155956]

Mr. Alan Howarth: To the Department's knowledge Mr. Martin has complied with the terms of the licence granted to him to excavate the wreck site of the Hanover. The licence issued to Mr. Martin in August 1997 does not have a time limit.

Jockeys (Compensation)

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will take steps to compensate self-employed jockeys who have lost income as a result of the suspension of races during the foot and mouth outbreak. [155440]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 March 2001]: My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment has the lead responsibility for the Rural Task Force which was set up as a direct result of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. No Governments have paid compensation in such circumstances. We are however offering a package of measures to help those adversely affected by the outbreak which my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment announced to the House on 20 March 2001, Official Report, column 191. The Rural Task Force will be continuing its work and further measures will be announced as appropriate.


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