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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 8 January 2008


Armed Forces: Housing

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received on the quality of accommodation for members of the armed forces in the UK. [169910]

Derek Twigg: Ministers have received a number of representations from right hon. and hon. Members and members of the public. For example, during the last six months 125 items of correspondence were received.

Defence: Ireland

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are in place to facilitate co-operation with the Irish defence forces following the decision to withdraw the UK defence attaché from the British embassy in Dublin. [174703]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 17 December 2007]: Alternative arrangements have been put in place to ensure that our relationship is maintained. The defence attaché Dublin is now the Director of Defence Diplomacy based in London; he has an important remit to fulfil the role of defence attaché on a non-residental basis. He and his team are working in close cooperation with the ambassador and his staff at the embassy. The Irish defence forces were consulted before these arrangements were put in place and are content with how the defence relationship is now being handled.

Departmental ICT

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s original estimate was of the overall projected cost of the Defence Information Infrastructure; what his current estimate is of the overall projected cost; and if he will make a statement. [176095]

Derek Twigg: The Defence Information Infrastructure Programme is being delivered incrementally; the current approved costs for the on-contract Increments 1 and 2a (which support the Fixed environment) and 2b (which supports Deployed) are, rounded to the nearest £0.1 billion, £4.1 billion and £0.4 billion respectively, giving a total of £4.5 billion. This is within 3 per cent of original programme estimates at Main Gate.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what savings the Defence Information Infrastructure made in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [176096]

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Derek Twigg: The Defence Information Infrastructure Programme has delivered the £170 million efficiency savings projected at the Main Gate approval point for its first three years, comprising £40 million in financial year 2005-06; £80 million in financial year 2006-07 and £50 million projected in financial year 2007-08.

Departmental Recycling

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much and what proportion of its waste his Department recycled in each of the last five years. [174421]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1457W.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why the his Department's review of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office does not incorporate any of the recommendations made in the 2006 Office of Fair Trading report—The Commercial Use of Public Sector Information. [176700]

Derek Twigg: The Government published a response to the Office of Fair Trade report, Commercial Use of Public Sector Information, in June 2007. The recommendation for the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office to remain an Executive Agency financed through a Trading Fund took the response by Government fully into account.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office: Standards

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the decision was made to complete and publish his Department's review of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office before the Government-commissioned review of Trading Funds, currently being carried out by Cambridge University, had been completed. [176699]

Derek Twigg: The conclusions of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office structural and ownership options review have a direct impact on staff and international allies. For this reason the conclusions were announced at the earliest opportunity. The conclusion to remain a Trading Fund was not dependent on the outcome of policy considerations in pricing policy for public information.


Departmental Redundancies

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the cost was of redundancies in his Department in the 12 months preceding (a) 30 June 2004, (b) 30 June 2005 and (c) 30 June 2006. [175479]

David Cairns: All the staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from other Government Departments and redundancy issues are a matter for the parent Departments.

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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland for which regulators and inspectorates his Department has had responsibility in each year since 1997; what the budget was of each such body in each year; and what the cost to the public purse was of any restructuring of each such body in each year. [175305]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999 and is not responsible for any regulators and inspectorates.

Women and Equality

Corporate Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality on how many occasions she has accepted corporate hospitality in the last 12 months. [171313]

Barbara Follett: Ministers are required to notify their permanent secretary and it should be declared in the Register of Members’ or Peers’ Interests. Registration of hospitality would normally be required for hospitality over £600 in value for the Commons and £1,000 for the Lords. No notifications have been required since the Deputy Minister for Women and Equality took up her post.

International Development

Basra Development Commission

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what development projects have been identified for funding by the Basra Development Commission; and if he will make a statement; [174171]

(2) how many officials from his Department are seconded to the Basra Development Commission; where these officials are based; and how much has been spent by his Department on the Commission. [174172]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Basra Development Commission (BDC) has not identified any development projects. So far one Commissioner has been appointed (Michael Wareing, international CEO of KPMG) and the Government of Iraq and Basra Provincial Council (BPC) are expected to appoint further Commissioners in the coming weeks. Moreover, the Commission’s role will be to provide guidance and advice on economic issues, not to identify development projects.

No DFID officials have been seconded to the BDC. The Commission is expected to consist of several Commissioners and a small Secretariat. DFID has not allocated any funds specifically for expenditure on the BDC. Some logistical support for the Commission is being provided through existing DFID programmes for Basra, but no financial assistance.

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Departmental Manpower

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what proportion of posts in his Department have been recategorised from back office to frontline posts as classified by the Gershon efficiency review in each year since 2004. [172257]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to achieving work force reductions of 297 posts by the end of 2007-08. This is a net target and no posts have been reclassified under this initiative.

Sudan: Overseas Aid

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid was given to Sudan in each of the last five years; what conditions were attached to the aid provided; and if he will make a statement. [172037]

Mr. Thomas: DFID does not give funds directly to the Government of Sudan. DFID’s aid to Sudan is primarily delivered as humanitarian assistance through civil society organisations and multilateral institutions and not subject to conditionality.

As with all DFID aid, however, monitoring arrangements are in place to ensure that it is spent as intended and achieves its objectives. NGO and UN partners monitor humanitarian assistance on our behalf to ensure it reached beneficiaries.

Information on UK aid to Sudan is available in the DFID publication “Statistics on International Development 2007”. This publication is available online at www.dfid. gov.uk. Relevant figures are reproduced in the following tables.

Table 1: UK total bilateral gross public expenditure on development 2002-03 to 2006-07
Sudan (£000)











Table 2: Imputed UK share of multilateral official development assistance (ODA) 2001-05
Sudan (£000)











Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Coal Fired Power Stations: Carbon Sequestration

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received from industry on the (a) costs and (b) expected dates of retrofitting carbon capture and storage to new build coal fired power stations. [174685]

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Malcolm Wicks: The Government have undertaken two formal consultations with industry on these matters. These are the 2005 Carbon Abatement Technology (CAT) Strategy and the 2006 HMT consultation on the barriers to CCS, the responses of which can be found on the HMT website:

In addition, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has also held informal consultations on this matter with industry leading up to, and following, the launch on 19 November 2007 of the UK’s CCS demonstration competition.

Culture, Media and Sport

Alcoholic Drinks: Advertising

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will take steps to prohibit the advertising of alcohol in the cinema before films with a lower than 18 certificate. [176845]

Margaret Hodge: The Government take the issue of alcohol abuse among children and young people very seriously and as part of our national alcohol strategy, "Safe. Sensible. Social." we are reviewing the evidence on the relationship between alcohol price, promotion and harm.

Advertising regulations must be robust and based on best evidence. If new evidence emerged which clearly highlighted problems in relation to consumer harm caused by alcohol advertising, then the regulators would need to consider this fully and take appropriate action.

Climate Change

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) intends to take by (i) 2012 and (ii) 2020 in relation to adaptation to the effects of climate change as they affect his departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. [166424]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 6 December 2007]: My Department is carrying out a project to identify potential climate change impacts on our sectors. We started this work last June, in advance of the Climate Change Bill. We recognised that over the longer-term climate change may impose significant costs and challenges for the preservation of the country's historic environment, the design of new buildings and much of the sport and leisure infrastructure, such as public parks and playing fields. We are working closely with our sponsored bodies to explore mitigation and adaptation practices. Our findings will inform the targets for our next Sustainable Development Action Plan and our future climate change policy.

In connection with the 2012 Olympic Games and their legacy, the London 2012 Sustainability Plan—Towards a One Planet 2012—launched on 26 November, includes commitments that new permanent venues in the Olympic Park will respond to climate
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change challenges. These commitments also apply to the new parkland and will influence the development of the whole site.

Digital Switchover Help Scheme

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding will be provided to local authorities to cover the cost of digital switchover of communal TV systems in local authority-owned properties. [176715]

James Purnell: Digital television services were first introduced in 1998. Since then local authorities with housing stock as well as other social and private sector landlords, have been taking action to provide residents with access to these services by ensuring that communal television systems are capable of relaying digital television services. No additional funding has been, or will be, provided to local authorities for the costs of modernising communal televisions systems.


Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to announce the results of the consultation on the rules on flying the Union Flag on public buildings. [176153]

Margaret Hodge: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport plans to publish the summary of responses to the consultation shortly and the Government response will follow.

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