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City Status (Golden Jubilee)

Ian Lucas: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the successful applicants for city status in celebration of Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee will be announced. [32584]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor hopes to announce the results of the competition by the end of march.

Departmental Salary Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proportion of the departmental expenditure limit in 2001–02 will be accounted for by salary costs and pension contributions. [32007]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The proportion of the departmental expenditure limit in 2001–02 of £2,754,934,000 to be accounted for by salary costs and pension contributions is 9 per cent.

This figure excludes expenditure on judicial salary costs which fall to the Department.

Departmental Leave Entitlements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what has been the average annual leave entitlement of staff in the Lord Chancellor's Department in each of the last four years. [31745]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is as follows:

(a) The annual leave entitlements for staff below the senior civil service in LCD and its agencies is as follows:

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(b) The annual leave entitlement for members of the senior civil service is currently set by the Cabinet Office at 30 days and has been so for the last four years.

Court Service

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many persons are employed in the Court Service. [31864]

Mr. Wills: There are 11,087 employees in England and Wales.



Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian aid is being provided by the United Kingdom Government to prisoners in Afghanistan. [33607]

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Clare Short: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), acting under its mandate provided by the Geneva Conventions, is responsible for assisting war detainees in Afghanistan. ICRC delegates visit detainees, register them and, with the consent of the detaining authority, offer psychological support and extra help to make their conditions of detention more acceptable, such as exchanging correspondence with families. Since November 2001, the ICRC has registered almost 5,000 detainees, in some 40 places of detention.

My Department has so far provided £3 million to the ICRC in Afghanistan in response to the current crisis.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many refugee camps have been set up in Afghanistan; and what estimate she has made of the total number likely to be required. [32746]

Clare Short: The United Nations estimates that almost 1.2 million Afghans are displaced inside Afghanistan, primarily due to conflict and drought, with the north and west of the country accounting for over 60 per cent. of the total displaced. Significant numbers do not reside in camps, but are hosted by already vulnerable communities. The United Nations currently lists over 900 centres where significant numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) have gathered, both in organised camps and among host communities.

International organisations are helping to support the return of IDPs to their homes. Nevertheless significant numbers remain displaced. The largest organised camps are at Maslakh in Herat, Spin Boldak near the Pakistani border, and in Mazar-i-Sharif city. The International Organisation for Migration is currently re-registering the estimated 200,000 population of Maslakh camp and opening a new camp in Herat to accommodate new arrivals. We are not aware of requirements for further new camps in Afghanistan.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many international troops are currently deployed to protect aid convoys in Afghanistan. [32745]

Clare Short: The responsibility for establishing and maintaining security across Afghanistan lies with the Afghan Interim Administration. The role of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is to help the Afghan Interim Administration provide security and stability only in and around Kabul; it is not involved in providing security for aid convoys.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate she has made about the amount of aid required in Afghanistan; and how much has been delivered. [32743]

Clare Short: In late September last year, the UN launched an inter-agency donor alert for $584 million (£413 million) to cover the humanitarian needs of Afghans over the winter months from October 2001 to March 2002. This was subsequently revised to $657 million (£464 million). Latest UN figures indicate that donors have contributed almost $583 million (£412 million) towards that appeal. My Department has contributed £60 million since last September.

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Based on a preliminary needs assessment, the UN Secretary General announced at the Tokyo conference on Afghan reconstruction last month that $10 billion (£7.1 billion) will be needed over the next five years to cover the costs of recovery, reconstruction and on-going humanitarian needs in Afghanistan. Of this some $1.3 billion (£0.9 billion) is needed in 2002 to cover immediate needs. Overall, donors have pledged $4.5 billion (£3.2 billion) over the next five years; $1.8 billion (£1.3 billion) of which is for commitments over this next year. The Department for International Development has committed £200 million over the next five years for both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. This pledge is in addition to the significant sums that DFID contributes to the World Bank, European Union and Asian Development banks who will also be channelling funds into Afghanistan over coming years. DFID's share of the European Union pledge alone will be 20 per cent.

My Department has a well-earned reputation for rapid and flexible disbursement of funds. We will continue our efforts to turn pledges quickly into cash, and will encourage our counterparts in the international community to do likewise. Timely disbursement of support is critical if we are to continue to meet immediate and longer-term needs in Afghanistan.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the programmes funded by the UK Government which are targeted to support women's needs and interests in Afghanistan. [30423]

Clare Short: We strongly support the common programming approach under the United Nations-led Strategic Framework for Afghanistan, which is intended to provide a principled, co-ordinated and coherent approach to programming. One of its key themes is the protection and advancement of human rights, with particular emphasis on women's empowerment.

We recognise the need to build the capacity of Afghanistan's women to enable them to take full part in the reconstruction of their society, including the new Interim Administration, and to ensure that legal, constitutional and other provisions are not discriminatory against women. Our funding for support of Afghan women during the recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan is being channelled through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations who will work closely with the Interim Administration and who have expressed a commitment to involving Afghan women in the design and implementation of their strategies and programmes.

To date this includes an allocation of $1 million to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for a programme to support Afghan women's leadership through awareness raising, capacity building and gender mainstreaming; as well as local level, quick impact recovery projects supporting women. We are also in discussion with the Ministry for Women on how we can provide other support to its activities.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support her Department plans to give to micro-credit schemes for women in Afghanistan. [30425]

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Clare Short: As recovery and reconstruction activities begin in Afghanistan, the programmes that we support will be carefully designed and monitored to ensure that women and girls benefit. Women are both often the poorest members of communities, and the best organisers. We are therefore identifying how we can support women's livelihoods. For example, we are currently funding a women's income generation project implemented by Ockenden International in western Afghanistan.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people in her Department worked on Afghanistan in (a) 1999, (b) 2000, (c) 2001 and (d) January 2002; and on what tasks and in which policy areas they were deployed. [33761]

Clare Short: Accurate figures are difficult to provide, as the number of staff in my Department working on Afghanistan over the years has varied according to the situation. However, within my Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department (CHAD), a London-based desk officer has dealt with Afghanistan, supported by a range of professional advisers as required. Since last September, a team of four people has been working full-time on the Afghanistan crisis supplemented by technical and project administrative support in the region.

Since the events of September last year, my Afghanistan team has been managing a £60 million programme, the objectives of which are to: help the process of stabilisation by supporting the peacemaking efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary General and the establishment of the Afghan Interim Administration; help kick-start the rehabilitation and recovery effort; help meet immediate life-saving needs within Afghanistan especially those over the remaining winter months; support refugee needs in neighbouring countries and assist with the resettlement of returnees and IDPs; assist with the promotion and protection of human rights, including the provision of objective information; and encourage forward planning for Afghanistan's post- conflict recovery.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in remote areas of Afghanistan. [32744]

Clare Short: Thanks to the efforts of the UN-led humanitarian system, and with the support of the international community, a potential humanitarian catastrophe has been averted in Afghanistan. However, there are some remote areas of Afghanistan (especially in the west) where the humanitarian situation remains serious because of the drought. Worsening weather conditions in the north and north-east are making food deliveries increasingly difficult. The precarious security situation in some parts of Afghanistan continues to restrict access for humanitarian agencies. As a result there are pockets of unmet needs where vulnerable people cannot be reached. WFP and other humanitarian agencies are continuing to do their best to deliver life-saving assistance to those in need.

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much food aid has been deployed in Afghanistan since 11 September 2001 utilising UK Government resources. [32540]

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Clare Short: The lead agency for the provision of emergency food aid is the UN World Food Programme (WFP). In October 2001, WFP appealed for $257 million (approximately £185 million) to feed 7.5 million people for six months. They estimated that almost 500,000 metric tonnes of food (mainly wheat) would be required for this period.

We have contributed £6 million towards WFP's operations inside Afghanistan—for both direct procurement and transportation of food, and for logistical support to help speed up the movement of food aid into the country. We have also supported a number of agencies—the UN, Red Cross and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)—for supplementary feeding and secondary distribution of food inside Afghanistan.

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