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10 Apr 2003 : Column 391Wcontinued
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to increase funding to organisations supporting street children in Central and South America; and if she will make a statement. 
Clare Short: My Department will continue to provide support to street children in Central and South America through our contribution to reducing poverty generally and through more direct support for organisations working with street children. Examples of the latter include our support for European Commission project covering El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala, which aims to improve the legal environment for children in those countries, and to strengthen local law enforcement agencies to combat trafficking and commercial exploitation of children. We have also been supporting a number of projects managed by Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including equipment for homes for street children in Guatemala, and education for street children in Ecuador.
We believe that the most effective way of helping street children is by tackling the conditions of poverty, deprivation and social exclusion which leads to their situation. We are working in partnership with the international development community and with Governments to reduce poverty and provide access for all to primary health care, education and social protection services.
Clare Short: The British Ambassador to Guatemala frequently discusses issues regarding street children with the Government there. My colleagues in the Foreign Office have also raised this issue during their visits to Guatemala.
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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what policy on (a) core hours and (b) flexible working hours is operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible. 
Clare Short: The Department for International Development (DFID) are committed, subject to operational needs, to meeting requests from staff to adopt alternative working patterns, including reduced hours. Under our flexible working hours system, the flexible working day is between 7:00 and 19:00. The core hours are 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 15:30. A minimum half-hour break must be taken between 12:00 and 14:00. Staff can build up extra hours up to a maximum of two working days, and work with a similar deficit of two working days, within any four-week accounting period. Staff need their line manager's approval before they can take flexi-leave in lieu of extra hours worked.
Ms Hewitt: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 March 2002, Official Report, columns 61718W, about the way in which my Department is working with DWP on this issue, both at ministerial and official level.
The Government are committed to ensuring that women are not disadvantaged regarding pension provision and enjoy a decent income in retirement. We have already introduced a range of measures including stakeholder pensions, minimum income guarantee and state second pension to help with this. From October 2003, the new pension credit will benefit lower income pensioners further still. Two-thirds of people receiving pension credit will be women, half of whom will be aged 80 or over.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reasons underlie the policy set out in the provisions of draft Orders under the Export Control Act 2002 that lack of criminal intent is not an acceptable defence in cases of strict liability offences involving the supply or attempted supply of goods or technology that might be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction; and for what reasons no equivalent provisions are included relating to the supply of information which might be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction. 
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Nigel Griffiths: The Government believe that in view of the seriousness of offences relating to the supply of goods, technology or technical assistance which the provider knows or has been informed are for use in connection with weapons of mass destruction, the person (or legal entity) concerned should be liable to prosecution whether or not there was a deliberate intent to evade the legislation.
The draft Export of Goods, Transfer of Technology, and Provision of Technical Assistance (Control) Order does provide for strict liability offences in relation to the supply of information which is or may be intended for use in connection with the production of weapons of mass destruction. The Order makes provision for strict liability offences in respect of the electronic transfer of technology, the transfer by non-electronic means (including oral communication) and the provision of technical assistance in connection with a weapons of mass destruction programme.
This includes expenditure on national daily and Sunday newspapers, regional papers, mass circulation magazines and journals, and academic periodicals. It also includes expenditure on annual publications, in particular reference works that would not normally be considered as periodicals. It is not possible to exclude such annual publications, except at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what statutory powers the Government have to take action against companies or individuals threatening national security by releasing information about military technology and software on the internet. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department is taking to promote the use of the Post Office card; and whether it is giving bank and building society accounts preference over the card method of payment. 
Mr. Timms: The Post Office card account is one of a range of accounts that people can use to receive benefit payments into, and which will enable people who wish to do so to be able to collect their benefits in cash at post offices. Our aim is that people should be able to choose the option that suits them best. Information about all the options is being supplied to benefit, pension and tax
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credit customers by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Inland Revenue. Post Office Ltd. is also making its own information material available to customers.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals she has for facilitating the use of the Post Office card by (a) disabled beneficiaries and (b) users and beneficiaries acting through home helps or social workers. 
Mr. Timms: The Government and the Post Office are working to provide a high quality range of services for all our customers, including those who wish to use the Post Office card account. As the service provider it is the responsibility for Post Office Ltd to ensure the accessibility of the Post Office card account.
Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the overseas companies in which the Royal Mail has investments; when each investment was made; what the amount of each investment was; and what the financial performance of each has been since it was made. 
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the additional capital grant funding for sustainable energy technologies announced in the 2002 Comprehensive Spending Review and the 2003 Energy White Paper is intended for the (a) offshore wind, (b) biomass and (c) solar PV grant programmes. 
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