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21 Oct 2002 : Column 29W—continued


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the Government of Malawi regarding the cholera control programme; and what plans are in place to implement a sanitisation programme. [74881]

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Clare Short: The lead agency supporting Malawi on cholera control is WHO. The National Cholera Task Force Ministry of Health (MoH) and relevant donors have pre-positioned cholera treatment supplies, completed field investigations of recurrent outbreaks, set up a Rapid Reaction Force, and prepared simplified surveillance tools. WHO has concluded agreements direct with districts and collaborating NGOs to conduct training on preparedness and case management.

WHO is supporting community-based sanitisation campaigns on cholera prevention, including key household practises (water storage, handwashing, home sanitation). Government, UNICEF, NGO partners and district authorities are cooperating to ensure that ''hardware'' (treatment supplies, borehole placement) and the ''software'' (health worker training, community awareness) are reaching the worst affected areas.

Debt Repayments

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her policy on whether (a) Malawi, (b) Mozambique and (c) Zambia should be granted an immediate suspension of their HIPC debt repayments. [76103]

Clare Short: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia have all qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Malawi and Zambia have reached their Decision Point, and are already receiving debt relief. Mozambique has passed its Completion Point and is now receiving full debt relief. All three countries have completed a full poverty reduction strategy paper setting out how resources, including savings from debt relief, will be spent, thereby ensuring the maximum possible impact on poverty reduction. To address the current food security problem in the region, the UK has provided #26.5 million in humanitarian relief to these three countries since September 2001.

HIPC Initiative

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which countries she estimates, on current projections, will exit the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative with unsustainable debt. [75060]

Clare Short: Largely as a result of the global economic slowdown and falls in commodity prices, the prospect of most HIPC countries exiting the process with sustainable debt are poor, unless they are provided with further relief. The UK has successfully pressed for the provision of additional relief at Completion Point, but the present arrangement still does not provide a generous enough level of debt relief to those countries with unsustainable debts. We are continuing to press for a more systematic approach to topping up to bring all countries back to a sustainable debt level at Completion Point, so that no country will exit the HIPC process with unsustainable debts.

Additional financing will be required to meet the costs of topping up. At their Summit in Kananaskis, last July, G8 leaders agreed to provide their share of up to an additional US$1 billion for the HIPC Trust Fund. This will not only help meet the current shortfall in the

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financing of the Initiative, but will also ensure that there are sufficient funds available to finance the additional debt relief required at Completion Point. At the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF last month, the international community reconfirmed their commitment to the implementation of the HIPC Initiative, and its full financing. Some donors, including the UK took the opportunity to pledge their firm support for the HIPC Trust Fund. The UK announced a bilateral contribution of US$95 million plus its share of any EDF contribution to the Trust Fund. This is in addition to the US$306 million that we have already committed. We hope that other donors will be able to announce their contributions this week.


Lottery Funding

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is on the provision of Lottery funding to groups with a political agenda. [75621]

Mr. Caborn: It is for individual Lottery distributors to decide upon the eligibility of individual applicants according to the powers given them under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 and in consideration of the directions issued to them under that Act.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under what provision of the arrangements for managing the National Lottery grant finance was provided to the Community Empowerment Network. [75620]

Mr. Caborn: Under the powers given to it by the National Lottery etc. Act 1993, the Community Fund awarded a grant of #198,823 to the Communities Empowerment Network in June 2000 for work in the Greater London area. This grant completed in July 2002 and the Community Fund do not fund the organisation currently.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to improve access to Lottery funds for village hall projects. [75242]

Mr. Caborn: We have asked Lottery distributors to work together to make it easier for groups to access funding for multi-purpose community buildings, including village halls. Earlier this year they launched a #2 million trial programme in the West Midlands with a shared application process for groups seeking up to #100,000 to improve their community building and the sports, arts or community activities that happen there.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much National Lottery funding was granted to ex-servicemen's welfare organisations in West Sussex last year. [75531]

Mr. Caborn: I am not aware of any Lottery funding granted to such organisations in West Sussex last year.

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Sport England

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects the Council of Sport England to have a full complement of members. [75195]

Mr. Caborn: We expect to appoint a chairman and other members to the Sport England Council shortly.

Sport (Performance and Innovation Unit)

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received on the draft Performance and Innovation Unit report on the future of sport. [75197]

Mr. Caborn: My Department has received representations from a number of sporting organisations. In addition, meetings have been held with those Ministers with responsibility for sport in the Devolved Administrations. All comments received have been passed to the Strategy Unit, (formerly the PIU).

Football (Racist Abuse)

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions the Department will have with the football authorities and other Government Departments about the racist abuse of members of the England football squad by Slovakian football fans in the recent international match between the two nations. [75207]

Mr. Caborn: I discussed events during England's match in Slovakia with representatives of the English football authorities on 16 October. My officials have also discussed the issue in detail with the Home Office, which is responsible for co-ordinating work with overseas police forces in respect of England's away matches.

The Government and the football authorities now await the results of UEFA's enquiry into these events, following the official complaint made the Football Association.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how the development of Specialist Sports Colleges and School Sport Co-ordinator partnerships is contributing to increasing facilities available for swimming. [75819]

Mr. Caborn: The Government recently announced the investment of more than #450 million over the next three years to transform the quality of sports teaching in schools. The funds will, amongst other things, contribute to the further development of the Specialist Sport College (240 new Colleges by 2005) and School Sport Co-ordinator (from 700 to 2,400 Co-ordinators by 2005) schemes, and will bring a step change in the quality of sports teaching by promoting expertise and developing opportunity. The investment builds on the #750 million being invested in sports facilities across the UK as part of the New Opportunities Fund PE and Sport programme.

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The Government recognises the importance of swimming to young people and the role it—along with sport more generally—can play in raising standards, improving behaviour and tackling disaffection, as well as improving health levels. On 17 October, as part of the Government's response to the Swimming Advisory Group's recent Report, the Government launched a swimming initiative which will include: a new swimming and water safety website; proposals for a swimming charter (to be published next year); two pilot schemes for children in the final year of primary school and who cannot swim 25 metres; and increased training for teachers.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her estimate is of the cost of refurbishing local authority swiming pools; and what resources are expected to be available over the next five years for this purpose. [75820]

Mr. Caborn: Sport England estimate that the costs for modernising public sector swimming pools alone (not including educational sites) is approximately #2 billion. The Lottery Sports Fund has invested #244 million in the development of new swimming facilities and the refurbishment of existing swimming pools, making swimming the largest beneficiary sport of Lottery Sports Funding to date.

Grants from the Lottery Sports Fund are allocated by Sport England according to the policies and priorities set out in their Lottery strategy. We believe that any investment in swimming pool infrastructure should both meet the need of local communities and those of elite swimmers and above all, should be sustainable in the long term.

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