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Comprehensive Spending Review

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many meetings he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales to discuss the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. [43224]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Secretary of State for Wales represents Welsh interests within the Government. Treasury Ministers meet on occasion with Ministers of the National Assembly for Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the National Assembly for Wales regarding the Comprehensive Spending Review within the last 12 months. [43223]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Treasury Ministers receive representations from the National Assembly for Wales on a range of issues.

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Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the Public Service Agreement targets which have been revised and those which have been introduced since the publication of the 2001 departmental report. [43256]

Ruth Kelly: Public Service Agreement targets are an integral part of the spending review process. No changes have been made to the targets since the 2000 Spending Review.

International Monetary Fund

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the Assessment of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund following the conclusion of its 2001 Article IV consultation with the UK; and if he will make a statement. [43929]

Ruth Kelly: We welcome the IMF's 2001 Article IV report and the Assessment of the Executive Board, which commended the Government for the "impressive" performance of the UK economy, saying this "owes much to sound macro-economic policies, the unwavering observance of a strong policy framework, and sustained structural reforms".

Our response to the report is set out in the UK's statement to the IMF Executive Board, published on 7 March 2002.

Pension Schemes

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he collates on the relative value of public and private pension schemes in determining equivalence of remuneration. [43135]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Treasury does not keep data centrally on equivalence of remuneration and does not collate information on pensions for that purpose.

Travel-to-work Areas

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of residents of each travel-to- work area work outside that area. [43244]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Turner dated 18 March 2002:

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he intends to reply to the National Audit Office report entitled "Joining Up to Improve Public Services"; [43102]

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Mr. Andrew Smith: The Public Accounts Committee held hearings on each of these reports on the following dates:

The Government will of course reply at the earliest opportunity to the Committee's reports on these topics when they are published.



Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what work her Department is funding to aid the refugees clustered around Lake Kivu in Rwanda after January's volcanic eruption in Congo. [43078]

Clare Short: DFID made contributions totalling £2 million to relief agencies active in addressing the needs of people affected by the eruption of Mount Nyaragongo shortly after the eruption. These agencies have been active both in DRC and in Rwanda. In Rwanda the Red Cross have been particularly active, assisted in part by a grant from DFID.

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the impact on the stability of north-west Rwanda of the population moves following the volcanic eruption in the Congo in January. [43079]

Clare Short: We understand that relatively few of those affected by the eruption of Mount Nyaragongo are in north-west Rwanda. Although many sought sanctuary there immediately after the eruption, most returned to DRC soon afterwards. The Red Cross reported on 7 March that just over 5,000 people have remained in Rwanda. There is no evidence that the presence of these refugees is causing instability in the region.

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Special Advisers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the number and expected cost to her Department of special advisers in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [43269]

Clare Short: The number of special advisers is two and the expected salary costs are as follows:



Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of possible levels of corruption in relation to agreements under the CFP in (a) Angola, (b) Cape Verde, (c) the Comoros Islands, (d) the Cote d'Ivoire, (e) Gabon, (f) Guinea Bissau, (g) The Republic of Guinea, (h) Equatorial Guinea, (i) Madagascar, (j) Mauritius, (k) Mauritania, (1) Sao Tome and Principie, (m) Senegal and (n) the Seychelles; and what measures the Government have in place to monitor corruption in those countries. [43021]

Clare Short: UK responsibility for EU Common Fisheries Policy is taken by DEFRA. My Department has not assessed corruption in relation to Common Fisheries Policy agreements with the countries mentioned. However, the Government is seeking, along with our European partners, greater coherence in the implementation of EC's development and other external policies. We welcomed the endorsement of the EC's "Poverty and Fisheries" strategy at the Development Council in November 2001. The strategy calls for future fisheries agreements to be subject to "observance of the principles of good governance, with financial compensation having to be paid and used in accordance with sound budgetary management practice".

St. Helena

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she is giving to the Government of St. Helena to diversify its economy; and if she will make a statement. [43496]

Clare Short: A Country Policy Plan, for the three year period 2000–01 to 2002–03, was agreed between HMG and the St. Helena Government (SHG) in January 2000. SHG committed itself to a significant change programme, designed to make St. Helena more self sufficient, by promoting the private sector and raising the efficiency of the public sector. In return, we agreed to provide £29 million in development assistance over the period 2000–01 to 2002–03. This represented an increase of £3 million over the previous three year agreement, and a modest increase in real terms. We hope to discuss a new three year programme towards the end of this year.


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the humanitarian problems in Afghanistan are; and how her Department is helping to tackle them. [43080]

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Clare Short: Despite three years of drought and 23 years of conflict, and the recent insecurity and population displacement, widespread famine in Afghanistan has been averted by the early and effective actions of the humanitarian community. Over 6.6 million people have been provided with food aid over the past six months, as well as other essential relief supplies such as tents, clothing and cooking equipment.

However, with the prospect of a fourth year of drought this year, and continued limited access to some areas of Afghanistan, the humanitarian situation remains fragile and significant needs will remain for a least the coming year in challenging and volatile operating conditions. The Immediate and Transition Assistance Programme for the Afghan People, prepared by the UN and agreed with the Afghan Interim Administration (AIA), sets out the current humanitarian situation and the challenges ahead, up to the end of December 2002. The programme estimates that approximately 9 million Afghans, including over 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), are in need of assistance in Afghanistan in 2002.

My Department has committed over £60 million since September 2001 to support both the AIA and the United Nations-led humanitarian and recovery effort. This assistance is being channelled through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement and non-governmental organisations for projects covering a wide range of sectors. In addition, at the Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, we pledged £200 million over the next five years for both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. The World bank is in the process of establishing the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) as a way of streamlining donor assistance to Afghanistan from July 2002 onwards. We intend to contribute to the ARTF on its establishment, as well as continuing to channel funds directly through humanitarian and development agencies working in Afghanistan.

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