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Mr. Alexander: The Cabinet Office has been partially responsible for the implementation of one EU Directive in the past five years. The Women and Equality Unit, formerly part of Cabinet Office, implemented the Burden of Proof Directive (EC Directive 097/80/EC). However, the relevant statutory instrument, which came into force on 12 October 2001, was laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women, who has overall responsibility for women and equality issues.
Directive 97/80/EC has effect in relation to the UK by virtue of Council Directive 98/52/EC, and is implemented in the UK through the Sex Discrimination (Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof) Regulations 2001. Its aim is to ensure that any measures implementing the principle of equal treatment are made more effective, thereby providing victims of sex discrimination with effective access to justice. The Directive also defines the concept of indirect discrimination.
EC Regulations are, in general, directly applicable in the member states, without the need for further incorporation into national law. However, some Regulations require UK measures to make them workable and enforceable.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many (a) non-departmental public bodies, (b) Government agencies and (c) other public sector bodies were receiving funding from the Government in 1997; and how many are doing so in the current financial year. 
Mr. Alexander: Information on non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), including the amount of Government funding each receives, has been published annually in the Cabinet Office "Public Bodies" publication. Data for the 1,128 NDPBs in operation across the UK as at 1 April 1997 are published in "Public Bodies 1997". The latest available data are available in "Public Bodies 2002". Copies of these publications are held in the House Libraries.
All Executive Agencies are Government funded, with the exception of Trading Funds, which are established using Government funds, but which become self-financing through their commercial activities. The June 1997 List of Ministerial Responsibilities shows 137 Executive Agencies and 87 are shown in the October 2002 List. These publications are held in the House Libraries.
David Davis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the basis for his assessment that it was prejudicial to the safety of the state to allow the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration to investigate whether Cabinet Ministers have ever had any conflict between their private interests and their public duties. 
Mr. Alexander: The Government have made clear that they believe personal information provided by Ministers to their civil servants should be treated in complete confidence. The decision to issue a notice in this case was taken because the Government concluded that the release of certain personal, private information would not be in the public interest.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission is examining the case for changing the method of ordering candidates' names on ballot papers at elections. 
Mr. Viggers: Yes. In its report, "Ballot Paper Design", published last month, the Commission indicated its concern that alphabetical discrimination could exist in multi-seat elections, while acknowledging that the information available at present was inconclusive.
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The Commission intends to support further research to establish the extent of the influence of alphabetic discrimination prior to making a final recommendation to the Government. In the meantime it has recommended that legislation be introduced to enable the piloting of alternative listing methods in order to assist in determining the impact of the present arrangements.
Hilary Benn: DFID allocated £44 million to support humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan last year. For the financial year 200304 we have allocated at least £5 million. This will be focused on aid to returning refugees and internally displaced persons and vulnerable, particularly women-headed, households. These are the largest groups in continued need of humanitarian assistance.
Hilary Benn: DFID intends to make publicly available in the next few weeks a short summary document on its overall strategy for the Great Lakes region. The individual strategies for Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda will be available at around the same time.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what research he has commissioned into (a) the annual cost and (b) the numbers involved, if widows who married officers after they had retired from the Service were included in the Colonial Widows and Orphans Pension Schemes. 
Hilary Benn: No research has been commissioned into the annual cost or the numbers involved. Such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The accuracy of DFID's records on contributors to the various Colonial Widows and Orphans Pensions Schemes is entirely dependent on the individuals concerned, keeping us informed of any changes in their marital status. Our records are, therefore, not necessarily up to date in respect of marriages which took place after the contributor's retirement.
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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if the Department will take steps to ensure that aid channelled through the EU that has until now been spent in the 10 EU accession states will from 2004 to 2006 be spent instead in (a) sub-Saharan Africa and (b) south Asia on (i) development and (ii) water, sanitation and hygiene improvements towards the Millennium Development Goals. 
Hilary Benn: From 2004, the Pre-Accession budget will continue to provide funding for Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. Unallocated funds within the budget are being retained to handle any possible additional funding requirements for any new candidates up to 2006.
In 2004, Cyprus and Malta will join the Union and Turkey will move from the External Relations to the Pre-Accession budget. This will free up £150 million annually in the External Relations budget for new commitments.
Earmarking a sensible margin to support Iraq's reconstruction and the Middle East Peace Plan are a UK priority for the 2004 budget. The UK is also pressing for increased commitments to low income countries in Asia, particularly Afghanistan and support for the Global Health Fund, which would both help increase the European Commission's development budget poverty focus.
Assistance for sub-Saharan Africa is provided primarily through the European Development Fund (EDF), a separate off-budget fund replenished directly by member states contributions. Finds cannot be transferred between the EC budget and the EDF. Programmes under the EDF are based on the priorities of recipient countries and include water, sanitation and health programmes.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU committee on co-financing operations with European non-governmental development organisations in fields of interest to developing countries, (b) the number of times and the dates on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the house. 
Hilary Benn: The EC NGO co-financing committee does not have a fixed membership, but consists of delegates drawn from each of the 15 European Union member states. Since 17 April 2003, delegates from the 10 EU accession states have also been invited to attend most EU committees, including the NGO co-financing committee, as participating observers. The UK is usually represented on the EC NGO co-financing committee by one or two members of staff from the Information and Civil Society Department of DFID.
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Agenda items considered on 19 September 2002 were:
Exchange of views on various co-financing instruments
For opinion: framework agreements (in respect of 2000 call for proposals)
Exchange of views on
Activities in 2002
New call for proposals 2003
Co-financing instruments and envelopes for 2003
Call for proposals for Framework Agreements in 2003
Principle of an information exchange mechanism and set-up
Proposal of rules of procedure for the NGO co-financing committee
Exchange of views on
Proposals assessment based on concept notes
Role of the Committee and implications of the new financial regulation
Exchange mechanism with member states
Guidelines on principles and best practices for participation of non-state actors
As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of the Committee. The second report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 10 January 2002 ref. 5060/03, COM(03)733.
As part of the review process, the UK Government has encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every Comitology Committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.
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