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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the UK contribution
to the EU international aid budget was in (a) 2004, (b) 2005, (c) 2006 and (d) 2007. 
|UK contribution to the ECs development programme, 2004-05 to 2007-08|
Mr. Douglas Alexander: With 456 million poor people living on less than $1.25 a day (the international poverty line), India is home to one-third of the world's poor. With such large numbers living in destitution, the world cannot make headway on poverty without tackling it in India. For this reason, the UK remains committed to its development programme in India. Currently there are no plans to decrease aid to India.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the European Commission on plans to increase EU aid to (a) Morocco, (b) Algeria, (c) Libya and (d) Egypt. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) represents the majority of the European Commissions aid to Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt. The 2007-10 aid budgets for all countries under the ENPI were approved by EU member states, including the UK, in 2006. Country allocations will be considered again during the mid-term review of the ENPI in 2010, when the budgets for 2011-13 will be agreed. The Department for International Development (DFID) will continue to be involved with the European Commission during this process.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many seats on British Airways' flights have been purchased under the Platform2 programme; at what cost; and how many and what percentage of them were used. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Platform2 is implemented on behalf of the Department for International Development (DFID) by Christian Aid in partnership with Islamic Relief and the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC).
A total of four economy British Airways flights have been purchased by BUNAC under the programme: two to Accra in Ghana (at a cost of £576.29 and £726), one to Cape Town, South Africa (£1,118.26), and one to India (£726). All four flights were used.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to increasing our level of funding for water and sanitation in Africa to £200 million a year by 2010, and maintaining it at this level for five years. This will involve a variety of measures, including water wells, to achieve better access to safe and clean drinking water.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government are not responsible for the safety of aid workers working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). We regularly post updated travel advice on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website which we urge all British nationals working in or travelling to the OPTs to follow.
Department for International Development (DFID) staff posted abroad receive security briefing and training. While they are in country, office and home accommodation and local travel are security risk-assessed, and appropriate security safeguards are adopted. Consultants and contractors employed by DFID are responsible for their own security and safety arrangements. However, DFID seeks to ensure that they are appropriately briefed on security matters.
DFID is also funding a UN Access Support Team to help humanitarian agencies and NGOs negotiate with the government of Israel to move humanitarian imports and staff into Gaza and within the west bank. This should reduce the time aid workers spend waiting at crossings, some of whichparticularly into Gazaare hazardous.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) provided financial and technical support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to host the first Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem in May this year, at which over £700 million of investment agreements were signed with mainly Arab companies. Following the success of the conference, the Prime Minister announced a further investment event to be hosted in London on 15-16 December 2008. This will build further momentum on the economic track of the peace process by helping to increase investment and economic relations between the UK and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
DFID is also currently funding a new £3.7 million Facility for New Market Development (FNMD) to support Palestinian businesses to diversify and compete in new markets and enhance exports. During his visit in July this year, the Prime Minister presented the first grant awards to Palestinian entrepreneurs from this facility, and spoke at a seminar of leading UK and Palestinian businesspeople. The facility already has 23 clients, including seven businesses owned by women, and four coming from Gaza. DFID has also provided the PA with £3 million to help it pay off its private sector debts. This benefited firms in both Gaza and the west bank.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many complaints of racial abuse relating to staff for which his Department is responsible have been (a) investigated and (b) upheld in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Department for International Development (DFID) does not have a bilateral programme with Congo-Brazzaville and has had no formal discussions with its government. However, Congo-Brazzaville is a
candidate country in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which DFID supports. The EITI brings together governments, business and civil society to increase transparency over extractive revenue flows from companies to governments.
|UK total bilateral gross public expenditure on development (GPEX) 2005-06 to 2007-08|
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate has been made of the proportion of the Somali population which does not have access to aid due to the withdrawal of humanitarian agencies from the country. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to be of great concern to the UK Government. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) does not have an official estimate of the proportion of the Somali population unable to access to aid due to the withdrawal of humanitarian agencies. However, a contingency plan has been put into place and other agencies have stepped in quickly to fill the gap left by the withdrawal. Our partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), World Food Programme (WFP) and UNOCHA, remain responsive, and operational on the ground despite the difficult conditions and aid is still being delivered to the most vulnerable. Reports from the WFP indicate that 2.3 million Somalis will receive food aid in November.
11. David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to ensure that Jobcentre Plus is able to react rapidly to announcements of clusters of redundancies in a particular area. 
We will offer a Rapid Response Service to all employers declaring 20 or more redundancies and will also offer support where there are clusters of redundancies which require extra measures to help people find work.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Between 1998-99 and 2006-07, 900,000 pensioners have been lifted out of relative poverty, measured as below 60 per cent. of contemporary median household income after housing costs. Around 200,000 of these are pensioners living with a partner.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Our package for reforms will transform the savings culture in the UK, helping many millions to buildand enjoya decent income in retirement. Auto-enrolment will overcome the indecision and inertia that prevents many people from saving.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the cost of establishing the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority and other costs associated with the proposed personal accounts scheme (a) at the date on which the scheme was proposed and (b) in each month to date; and if he will make a statement. 
I cannot reveal the estimated costs associated with the personal accounts scheme as these estimates are commercially sensitive until the commercial procurement of services underpinning the scheme is complete.
Actual expenditure associated with the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority from its creation until 31 March 2008 was £12.43 million. For 2008-09, the authority received an initial budget allocation of £36.1 million. My Department reviews the allocation throughout the year and will be considering the budget for 2009-10 in light of the anticipated passage of the Pensions Bill and the extended role of the authority, which includes setting up the personal accounts scheme.
The Government remain confident that the delivery authority will deliver a personal accounts scheme that offers low charges to members and is self-financing in the long-term, such that its costs of establishment and operation are met through members charges.
14. Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the effect on benefit claimants of private companies operating premium rate telephone lines claiming to offer benefits advice. 
Mr. McNulty: The Department for Work and Pensions makes advice on benefits and a wide range of other entitlements easily accessible to everyone through a variety of channels including information leaflets, telephone helplines, websites, and through intermediary organisations working closely with us.
Other organisations promoting benefits advice services on a commercial basis are the responsibility of the service Regulator to monitor their operation and to take action where necessary to control them.
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