Mr. Straw: I outlined the Government plans on the immediate next steps on House of Lords reform in my statement on 19 July 2007, Official Report, column 449. I hope to be able to publish a further White Paper around the turn of the year, with the aim of producing draft clauses that would form elements of the final draft Bill. My intention through the work of the cross-party working group on Lords reform is to formulate a comprehensive reform package that we would put to the electorate as a manifesto commitment at the next general election. All proposals have been and will continue to be the subject to clearance with Cabinet colleagues in the normal way.
Ian Lucas: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will consider making funding available for school visits to the Houses of Parliament. 
Nick Harvey: In its report on Improving Facilities for Educational Visitors to Parliament in April this year the Administration Committee recommended that consideration should be given to subsidising school visits to Westminster from more remote constituencies. The Commission is interested in this possibility and the Administration Committee has agreed to the introduction of a pilot scheme to assess the merits of alternative approaches. The pilot is planned to take place early in the next financial year.
John Battle: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many hon. Members' staff passes were valid on the dates of 1 July (a) 1987, (b) 1997 and (c) 2007. 
Nick Harvey: The earliest information on Members staff passes is from 1998 and then each year from 2002 to 2007. The numbers show a 16 per cent. increase since 1998 and a 10 per cent. increase since 2002.
John Battle: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many House of Commons Press Gallery passes were valid on the dates of 1 July (a) 1987, (b) 1997 and (c) 2007. 
Janet Anderson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the cost will be to the House of Commons Refreshment Department of the research being undertaken by the Russell Partnership. 
an operational and financial benchmarking review of catering and retail services; and,
customer research to provide qualitative input for the benchmarking review.
Further to my reply to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands) on 26 June 2007, Official Report, column 658W, the tendered price to interview a sample of around 35 MPs and to conduct a survey among staff of the House and Members' staff was £6,950. The cost of the benchmarking review will be up to £26,250.
Both contracts were awarded following competitive tendering exercises under the House of Commons consultancy framework agreement. The research is being carried out in response to recommendations made by the Administration Committee in their report on Refreshment Department Services (HC 733) published on 14 February 2006.
Mr. Burns: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the matter of legal advice recently given to the Speaker and its cost. 
Nick Harvey: During July and August, the House administration endorsed the Speaker's use of the firm Carter Ruck to counteract a series of articles that were published in the media which questioned the impartiality of the Speaker in his official role. The cost of this advice was £18,696.06.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information his Department has about reports that UN Development Programme (UNDP) project staff in Burma have had to pay up to two months salary to UNDP national staff to retain their jobs. 
Mr. Malik: DFID has raised this matter with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP has carried out an investigation which failed to reveal any evidence to support that allegation. Subsequently, UNDP invited all its staff in Burma to complete a detailed confidential questionnaire on transparency, accountability and conflict of interest issues. UNDP is currently analysing the responses.
UNDP take incidents and allegations of misconduct extremely seriously, and continue to seek ways to ensure that transparency and accountability are a priority of their programme in Burma. UNDP has reviewed the operational procedures of their programmes and have begun to put in place additional safeguards to ensure the efficient, effective and appropriate use of resources. An internal oversight unit is now being established and a more robust grievance mechanism set up to deal with issues raised by staff, beneficiaries, various other stakeholders and the general public. A code of conduct training for all UN staff in Burma is due to begin soon,
focusing on, among other things, transparency, accountability, conflict of interest, abuse of authority and harassment.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Departments projected spending is on advertising and promotional campaigns for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09, broken down by cost relating to (i) television, (ii) radio and (iii) print media. 
(i) DFID has not to date advertised or run promotional campaigns on television, and has no current plans to do so.
(ii) DFID has not to date advertised or run promotional campaigns on radio, and has no current plans to do so.
(iii) DFID has not to date run any promotional campaigns in print media, and has no current plans to do so. DFID's advertising spend is for recruitment and procurement purposes, and is estimated at £260,000.
A projected figure for the overall period cannot be supplied as budgets for promotional activities and advertising in 2008-09 have yet to be put in place, and it is yet to be determined what promotional activity or advertising will take place.
Mr. Malik: DFID currently classes India as a low-income country. This is in line with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) classification, recognised and used by the international donor community.
The OECD bases its classification on the World Banks World Development Indicators report. This currently states that India is a low-income economy because its Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was calculated as $730 in 2005, well under the $875 per capita or more that would mean graduation to middle-income country status.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Departments long-term expenditure strategy is for (a) India and (b) China; and if he will make a statement. 
For future years we are awaiting the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review which will determine our long-term expenditure in both countries. However, we expect to terminate our bilateral programme in China by the end of 2011.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the main proposed budget headings are for the £20 million funding announced on 5 April for activities in emergency and post-crisis countries over the next five years; and how much of this funding will be provided for the first global roster for education in emergencies. 
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department plans to take to implement the UKs contribution to the new global roster for emergency humanitarian education services. 
Mr. Malik: UNICEF and Save the Children Alliance (SCA) share responsibility for the provision of education in emergencies, and DFID is closely following the progress that they are making in establishing a global roster of education experts to be deployed in emergencies. DFID has provided UNICEF with £4 million per year from 2006 to 2009 to support their role in responding to emergencies, which includes building education response capacity.
Mr. Malik: UNICEF and Save the Children Alliance (SCA), who share responsibility for education provision in emergencies, are currently working on establishing the global roster of education experts. It is too soon to say when this roster will be operational. DFID is closely monitoring progress.
Mr. Malik: Iraq is a wealthy country, with Government revenues expected to be around $33 billion this year. Our priority is helping the Iraqi Government to unlock the potential of its human and financial resources to enable growth and deliver better public services to its own people. We also aim to internationalise the aid effort by leveraging a more effective role for key players such as the World Bank and IMF and we support the most vulnerable Iraqis through contributions to humanitarian agencies.
Since March 2003, the UK Government have provided £744 million for these reconstruction and development priorities in Iraq. This includes £90 million for infrastructure projects and £125 million for humanitarian agencies. Current programmes include: an Economic Reform Programme advising the Iraqi Government on macro-economic, fiscal and public financial management issues;
our Support of Centre of Government programme to help build key Government institutions of central Government including the Prime Ministers office; and work through the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Basra to promote public and private investment. We are also supporting the establishment of institutions including the Basra Investment Promotion Agency and Basra Development Fund designed to promote private sector development and credit for small and medium enterprises. This work is already serving as a model for assistance elsewhere in Iraq.
|Table 1: UK total bilateral gross public expenditure on development in the Maldives 1997-98 to 2006-07|
|Financial year||Bilateral expenditure (£000)|
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