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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she last met officials from the UN regarding the Global Fund for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. [34949]

Hilary Benn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development meets regularly with representatives of the UN and its specialised agencies to discuss a range of issues, including progress on the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria (GFATM). My

13 Feb 2002 : Column 366W

officials have been instrumental in getting the fund set up effectively and have worked in close co-operation with WHO, UNAIDS and many others. The UK has a seat on the GFATM board along with WHO and UNAIDS who are both ex officio members.

Afghanistan

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of levels of tuberculosis in the Badghis province of Afghanistan; and what action is being taken to treat those with tuberculosis. [34952]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development is not aware of any quantitative assessment by humanitarian agencies of levels of tuberculosis in Badghis province. However as one of the most vulnerable regions of Afghanistan, levels of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis are likely to be significant.

My Department has allocated significant funds to agencies working to improve disease surveillance and the provision of emergency health supplies, while assisting the rehabilitation of health facilities—in particular to build up the capacity of the Afghan Interim Administration's Ministry of Public Health. This includes £5 million to the World Health Organisation, £8 million to UNICEF, £5 million to the Red Cross movement, as well as support to local and international non-governmental organisations.

Timber

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action was taken by her Department to ensure that timber procured for the recent refurbishment of the International Development building on 1 Palace street was sourced (a) sustainably and (b) legally. [35678]

Hilary Benn: The contractual documentation as specified by my Department for the refurbishment work on 1 Palace street, included our standards for the use of sustainable sources of hardwood, timber products and plywood. This required all such procurement to be carried out in accordance with standards set by the Building Research Environmental Evaluation Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) in relation to materials and the environmental implications of materials selection.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been spent on timber for the recent refurbishment of the International Development building on 1 Palace Street. [35677]

Hilary Benn: Approximately £350,000 was spent on timber as part of this refurbishment.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much certified timber has been used in the recent refurbishment of the International Development building on 1 Palace Street; and what proportion of total timber purchased for this refurbishment this represents. [35676]

Hilary Benn: The following volumes of timber were used in the project.

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Volume
Softwood carcassing timber6,000m
Softwood plaster grounds2,500m
Veneered doors590
Softwood timber battens2,800m
Protection boards1,250
Battens to protection8,000m
Miscellaneous timber1,100m

Of the above, around 98 per cent. was certified. The remainder represents a small number of hardwood doors, which we were required to use within the Grade II listed section of the building under the relevant planning regulations. These doors were obtained from existing stocks from managed forests.

EU Overseas Development Assistance

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much per year has been spent in euros at current exchange rates on overseas development assistance as defined by the DAC by (a) the EU and (b) the EU and the 15 member states, in each of the last five years. [34680]

Hilary Benn: The latest available data on the EC and the member states' overseas development assistance (oda) are for 2000. The data show a slight increase in EU-wide ODA flows despite a gradual decline in the European Commission's ODA expenditure.

Total net ODA (ecu/euro current prices)
Billion

ECEC + member states
1996ecu 5.7ecu 19.9
1997ecu 5.5ecu 19.8
1998ecu 5.4ecu 19.8
1999euro 5.2euro 20.4
2000(4)euro 4.5euro 21.4

(4) Provisional.

Source:

OECD DAC online database.


TREASURY

Tax Credits (Fraud)

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2002, Official Report, column 515W, how many of the 28 prosecutions for tax credit fraud concerned tax credits obtained to the value of (a) less than £1,000, (b) £1,000 to £4,999, (c) £5,000 to £9,999 and (d) more than £10,000; and if he will give the same breakdown for the seven prosecutions which resulted in a custodial sentence. [35256]

Dawn Primarolo: The information is as follows:

Prosecutions:





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Custodial sentences:





Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of applications for tax credits have been identified as high risk for fraud or non- compliance by the Inland Revenue since the inception of tax credits; and how many of the applications so identified turn out to be fraudulent or non-compliant. [32643]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 5 February 2002]: Since the introduction in October 1999 of working families tax credit (WFTC) and disabled person's tax credit (DPTC), 60,614 applications were identified as being appropriate for further investigation up to December 2001. This equates to around 1 per cent. of the total number of applications received for tax credits during the same period. From this number, 9,665 investigations proved instances of fraudulent/non-compliant activity.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much compensation has been (a) paid and (b) ordered to be paid as a result of the prosecutions for working families tax credit fraud. [35165]

Dawn Primarolo: Three compensation orders have been made by the courts, totalling £6,020. There has also been one confiscation order, to the value of £100,000.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are in place for the mutual exchange of relevant information with overseas authorities regarding tax credit fraud. [35173]

Dawn Primarolo: The United Kingdom has a number of agreements with overseas authorities allowing the exchange of information relating to tax or social security matters. Where relevant, such information can be used to combat tax credit fraud.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2002, Official Report, column 515W, how many of the seven custodial sentences were for (a) less than six months, (b) six to 12 months and (c) more than 12 months; and what the length of the longest custodial sentence was. [35255]

Dawn Primarolo: Of the seven custodial sentences: (a) three were for less than six months; (b) there were none between six and 12 months; and (c) the remaining four sentences were for over 12 months. The longest sentence was for two and a half years.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Ian Stewart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans there are to amend the Office for National Statistics departmental expenditure limit and administration costs limit for 2001–02. [36860]

Ruth Kelly: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Office for National Statistics DEL will be increased by £495,000 from £197,350,000 to £197,845,000 and the administration costs limits will be increased by £6,540,000 from £184,631,000 to £191,171,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital is as set out in the following table.

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£
Resources
Change6,540,000
New DEL191,970,000
of which:
Voted191,118,000
Non-voted852,000
Capital
Change-6,045,000
New DEL5,875,000
of which:
Voted5,875,000
Non-voted0

The increase in the resource element of the DEL is due to two factors. Firstly, there is a transfer of £6,000,000 from Capital DEL to Resource DEL so that ONS has the appropriate level of cover in the budget to meet this year's spending pressures.

Secondly, a transfer to ONS of £585,000 administration costs from the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit in relation to work to develop the Neighbourhood Statistics programme is partially offset by a transfer of £45,000 administration costs from ONS to the Department for Education and Skills in respect of data development work associated with the same programme.

The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from the £6,000,000 transfer to Resource DEL referred to above. It also includes a transfer of £45,000 capital from ONS to the Department for Education and Skills in respect of data development work associated with the Neighbourhood Statistics programme.

An increase of £5,108,000 of Annually Managed Expenditure is required in respect of provision for early retirement costs.

The net increase in the DEL will be offset by transfers and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans there are to change HM Customs and Excise departmental expenditure limit and administration costs limit for 2001–02. [36859]

Mr. Boateng: The HM Customs and Excise DEL will be reduced by £30,000 from £1,128,571,000 to £1,128,541,000 and the administration costs limit reduced by £30,000 from £950,783,000 to £950,753,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table.

£

ResourceCapital
Change-30,000
New DEL1,038,529,00090,012,000
Of which:
Voted1,033,529,00089,012,000
Non-voted5,000,0001,000,000

The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from a decrease in administration costs of £30,000 transferred to DEFRA in respect of the CAP export licensing Invest to Save Budget.

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There is therefore, no addition to the planned total of public expenditure.

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans there are to change HM Treasury's departmental expenditure limits and administration costs limit for 2001–02. [36861]

Ruth Kelly: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary, HM Treasury's DEL will be increased by £3,020,000 from £244,845,000 to £247,865,000 and the administration costs limits will be increased by £1,000,000 from £106,689,000 to £107,689,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:

£

ResourcesCapital
Change1,0202,000
New DEL230,78817,077
Of which:
Voted201,41716,777
Non-voted29,371300

The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from the take up of administration costs EYF (£1,000,000) to meet the additional costs of the Treasury's planned programme of work, including set-up costs for the investment in the Troika insurance company and the funding of the PUK call-off contract; take up of programme costs EYF (£100,000) to meet the increased demand for UK coins; and a transfer of £80,000 programme expenditure from the OGC to the National Assembly for Wales for an e-pilot project the NAW is carrying out on behalf of the OGC.

The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from a further reclassification of programme expenditure EYF to capital provision (£2,000,000) for the service relating to the indemnity and insurance cover HM Treasury has offered to aviation companies in the wake of the events of 11 September. The cover is in the form of a loan note with the Troika Insurance Company Ltd.

The increases will be offset by a change to the DEL Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.


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