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Queen Victoria School

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Chief Executive of Queen Victoria school for the financial year 2002–03. [73459]

Dr. Moonie: The Chief Executive of Queen Victoria school has been set the following key targets for 2002–03:

Key Target 1

To maintain the staying on rate at school of S4 to S5 at a minimum of four per cent. above the Scottish national average. 1

Key Target 2

To maintain the percentage of pupils obtaining at least five credit awards at standard grade at two per cent. above the Scottish national average. 1

Key Target 3

To maintain a percentage of the S4 roll gaining 3+ awards at level 6 or better by the end of S5, at least equal to the Scottish national average. 1

Key Target 4

To achieve a pupil per capita cost of not more than £14,000 by March 2003.

Key Target 5

To generate gross income to the school of at least £295,000 per annum.

1 All Queen Victoria school statistics to be based on the school's results over the last three years, compared with the Scottish national average for the current year, those statistics being as published in the Scottish Executive Official Statistics.

Test and Evaluation Facilities

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future provision of test and evaluation facilities. [73460]

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Dr. Moonie: It is widely recognised that the Test and Evaluation (T&E) business has been in need of radical restructuring for many years. As part of tackling this problem head on, a long-term partnering contract is currently being negotiated with QinetiQ for the delivery of the T&E capability. The process includes the Ministry of Defence setting challenging targets to ensure that the T&E structure is more closely aligned with MOD's requirement for T&E capabilities. To achieve this within the taut budget, QinetiQ has put forward a number of proposals, which aim to remove excess capacity, duplication and obsolete facilities.

QinetiQ has identified three major rationalisation proposals for the air ranges. These are: conversion of the Aberporth range to an instrumented training range, the closure of Llanbedr airfield, and the reduction to campaign operation status of the West Freugh range.

The proposals will potentially deliver net savings in excess of £300 million across the life of the 25-year contract, and will transform the T&E business into the effective, modern organisation that we require.

The delivery of these savings is likely to lead to around 400 job losses, spread across all three establishments. I will be writing today to fully inform interested parties, including the unions, about the proposals beginning the consultation process.



Mrs. Calton: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick- upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how many times the Electoral Commission has been consulted in accordance with 7(1) and 2(h) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000; where their consultation responses are reported; and on how many occasions the Electoral Commission has provided a response. [69787]

Mr. Beith: I will write to the hon. Member.


World Bank

7. Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the forthcoming United Nations world summit on sustainable development will review the performance of the World bank business partners for development initiative. [69879]

Ms Keeble: Business Partners for Development (BDP) was a project-based initiative set up in 1998 to initiate partnerships for development. It involved 30 focus projects in 20 countries around the world. The BPD final report containing conclusions and recommendations was launched in April of this year. An independent evaluation of BPD, funded by my Department and the World bank, has already been conducted, and the findings will be available later this month. WSSD will review general progress on sustainable development to see where the

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implementation gaps are, as well as new challenges. Although not formally part of the WSSD process, the review will of course be available to all participants.


8. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she next expects to meet representatives of international aid agencies to discuss their plans for assisting Zimbabwe; and if she will make a statement. [69880]

Clare Short: My Department is in frequent contact with representatives of development agencies in Harare and internationally. We are working to try to prevent the current crisis becoming a catastrophe but the situation is very worrying.

9. Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her policy towards aid for Zimbabwe. [69887]

Clare Short: Our aim is to prevent loss of life arising from current food shortages and the increasing burden of disease and to support survival strategies of the poorest people. We have increased our financial provision for Zimbabwe to £32 million to meet humanitarian needs. Aid is being channelled through non-governmental and international organisations.


11. Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to relieve poverty among the anglophobe minority in Cameroon. [69882]

Clare Short: The support my department provides to Cameroon is not restricted to a particular linguistic or ethnic group. As part of the international community we support Cameroon's efforts to develop a poverty reduction strategy for all its people. Moreover, my department contributes directly to overall poverty reduction through our support to the forestry sector, in recognition of the sector's importance to the Cameroonian economy and the number of poor people living in the forest zone.

Famine (Southern Africa)

12. Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what she is doing to prevent famine in southern Africa. [69883]

Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) on 17 June 2002, Official Report, columns 58–59W. Since then our contribution to the world food programme has been used to buy about 60,000 tonnes of commodities which are being shipped now. Further allocations from the overall commitment of £45 million have been made to NGOs, and support has been provided for logistics personnel and vulnerability and nutrition assessments.

Fatal Diseases

13. Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to tackle (a) HIV/AIDS, (b) TB, (c) malaria and (d) other fatal diseases. [69884]

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Clare Short: Approximately half of infectious disease deaths in developing countries can be attributed to three diseases: HIV, TB and malaria, which cause more than five million deaths per year. DFID is working to strengthen developing countries' health systems to deliver effective services to the poorest. We have committed more than £1 billion to that purpose since 1997. The UK has also taken an active role in the establishment of the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, which is designed to improve provision of drugs and commodities to treat those diseases. DFID has pledged $200 million over five years for the fund.

Clean Water (Africa)

14. Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to improve supply of clean water in Africa. [69885]

Clare Short: My Department is working with Governments, civil society and the private sector to achieve the Millennium development goals for access to safe water in Africa. With all partners we seek to ensure that activities are sustainable and have a pro-poor focus. Expenditure on water in Africa was over £29 million last year.


15. Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her policy towards assisting economic and agricultural developments in the sub-Sahara. [69886]

Clare Short: DFID policy is to work with African Governments to implement internationally agreed poverty reduction strategies and to work through multilateral organisations, African institutions and the international community to promote private investment, create an equitable international trading system and bring an end to conflict in Africa.

Trade Links

16. Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she will take to seek reform of European Union policy on international aid and development relating to promotion of trade links with aid recipients. [69888]

Clare Short: The European Union has three instruments to help improve trading opportunities for developing countries:

First, the Everything but Arms initiative (EBA), which grants the worlds 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) duty and quota free access to EU markets for all their export products, excluding arms and munitions.

Second, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which are about to be negotiated with the 77 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions which are party to the Cotonou Agreement. These EPAs will seek to create WTO compatible free trade areas between coherent groups of ACP countries and the EU.

Third, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which grants all developing countries zero or reduced tariffs on the majority of their exports to the EU.

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The Government will continue to work to improve the trade access offered under these arrangements.

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