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28 Jan 2003 : Column 747W—continued


Mr. Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contingency plans her Department has made for humanitarian assistance to Iraq in the event of military action; and what funds the Government will make available for such measures. [93149]

28 Jan 2003 : Column 748W

Clare Short: My Department is undertaking contingency planning for a range of eventualities in Iraq. The potential costs of additional humanitarian assistance under various scenarios, and how they would be financed, are under active review.

World Trade Rules

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures the Government are taking to make the eradication of poverty the primary aim of world trade rules. [93732]

Clare Short: World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules need to apply to all members. But they must also be achievable by developing countries, with realistic implementation schedules and targets.

New rules require the right balance between standardisation and flexibility. For rules to be strong and binding, they need to have enough flexibility to meet the varying needs of the WTO membership and to recognise that WTO members are at different stages of development.

Without flexibility, new WTO agreements will be stuck at the lowest common denominator. This will lead to richer members making agreements amongst themselves outside the WTO and without consideration for the impacts on developing countries.

The term special and differential treatment is used to describe special provisions for developing countries in existing WTO agreements 1 . Many developing countries complain that in the Uruguay Round the application of special and differential treatment and the treatment of different country circumstances were haphazard and that longer implementation deadlines for developing countries were decided arbitrarily.

There needs to be a better application of flexibility in designing future WTO rules. Appropriate flexibility should be integrated systematically into WTO agreements, rather than added on as an afterthought.

Special and differential treatment reforms will eventually link into the poverty reduction strategies. Thus the integration of trade policy reform is essential if poor people are to benefit from trade liberalisation. In addition to special and differential treatment, the UK has been supporting the Integrated Framework. The Integrated Framework has two aims: to identify trade capacity building and technical assistance needs in least developed countries to which the multilateral agencies and donors can then make a co-ordinated response; and to mainstream trade into least developed countries poverty reduction strategies, so that pro-poor trade policies are included in a consistent manner in a country's overall development strategy. The Integrated Framework is based on the principle of country ownership and partnership. It is now being implemented in 14 least developed countries and eventually will be extended to Low Income countries. Ultimately the Integrated Framework should cease to be necessary as trade becomes successfully integrated into poverty reduction strategies.

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Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate the United Nations has published in US dollar value of the international sales disadvantage effectively imposed on poor countries by world trade rules. [93731]

Clare Short: The world's poorest countries face tariffs that are on average more than twice as high as those facing developed countries. Recent research estimates that developing countries could gain approximately $150 billion a year in real income from a 50 per cent. reduction in tariff barriers and other forms of protection by both developed and developing countries. Similarly, it has also been estimated that a 40 per cent. reduction in agricultural tariffs and export subsidies could boost global real incomes by around $60 billion a year.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures she is taking to put pressure on Zimbabwe to allow private imports of food to Zimbabwe. [93860]

Clare Short: The UN, with our strong support, have been pressurising Zimbabwe to import sufficient food for the non-destitute for many months. Zimbabwe has a state monopoly on cereal imports, and price controls that prevent effective private-sector participation in the food market. All donors have appealed to Zimbabwe to amend the current restrictions. The UN Special Envoy for the Southern Africa Humanitarian crisis, Mr. James Morris, has raised this issue with Mr. Mugabe six times, most recently obtaining agreement that a scheme first proposed in mid-2002 to facilitate private sector involvement, should be reconsidered for wheat imports for urban needs.

Private sector participation would help make food available for those who do have the money to purchase it. But while the private sector as a whole remains excluded, many organisations have been able to obtain import licences for specific programmes of humanitarian assistance.


Criminal Records Bureau

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many teachers are awaiting clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau, broken down by local education authority. [89312]

Hilary Benn: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Neil Gerrard) on 20 January 2003, Official Report, column 194W.

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Average Sentences

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average sentence for (a) burglary and (b) robbery was in each year since 1972. [90151]

Hilary Benn: The information requested, relating to average custodial sentence length for persons sentenced for burglary and robbery in England and Wales 1984 to 2001, is contained in the table. Data for earlier years are not available.

Statistics for 2002 will be published in the autumn.

Average custodial sentence length imposed at all courts for persons convicted of offences of burglary and robbery and the number sentenced to life imprisonment England and Wales, 1984 to 2001(4)

Burglary Robbery
Average custodial sentence length (months)(5)Persons sentenced to life imprisonment(6)Average custodial sentence length (months)(5)Persons sentenced to life imprisonment(6)

(4) These data are on the principal offence basis.

(5) Excludes those sentenced to a life sentence.

(6) From 1984 to 1997 the numbers sentenced to life imprisonment exclude those who were sentenced under Sec 53(2) Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

Community Sentences

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was the average number of hours of community service required by community sentences given by magistrates in England and Wales to (a) under 17-year-olds, (b) 17 to 21-year-olds and (c) over 21-year-olds in each year since 1995; [92149]

Hilary Benn: The information requested is contained in the table.

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Number of persons sentenced at magistrates courts to a community sentence, community punishment order or community punishment and rehabilitation order, and the average number of hours ordered to be served, England and Wales 1995 to 2001(7)

Year/age groupNumber sentenced to a community sentenceNumber sentenced to a CPO or CPRO(8)Average hours(9)
10 to 16 years15,0961,35090
17 to 21 years31,05515,55298
22 and over61,38932,553129
All ages107,54049,455118
10 to 16 years15,8571,56187
17 to 21 years32,38216,07696
22 and over64,56633,550107
All ages112,80551,187103
10 to 16 years16,5021,72486
17 to 21 years32,72516,33896
22 and over68,58835,186106
All ages117,81553,248102
10 to 16 years18,5691,84786
17 to 21 years35,13217,96695
22 and over73,33336,909105
All ages127,03456,722101
10 to 16 years19,6492,13384
17 to 21 years37,58919,37995
22 and over73,73939,908104
All ages130,97758,420100
10 to 16 years24,3382,21485
17 to 21 years38,63319,58194
22 and over72,96135,975104
All ages135,93257,770100
10 to 16 years30,0272,00987
17 to 21 years40,22718,55795
22 and over75,21534,384104
All ages145,46954,950100

(7) These data are on the principal offence basis.

(8) CPO = community punishment order. CPRO = community punishment and rehabilitation order.

(9) Average hours of community punishment order and community punishment order within community punishment and rehabilitation order to be served.

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