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30 Jan 2003 : Column 973Wcontinued
Clare Short: My Department has regular discussions with South African officials on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. We have also been monitoring the progress of negotiations between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of South Africa. WFP is at an advanced stage of negotiation with the Government of South Africa regarding a gift of £100,000 metric tons of maize from South Africa to countries in the region suffering food shortages. The amount for distribution to individual countries is still to be determined, but WFP would wish to distribute over 50 per cent. of the total to Zimbabwe.
Clare Short [holding answer 29 January 2003]: The SADC Vulnerability Assessment Committee report of December 2002 estimated that the total number of people in need of food assistance in Zimbabwe had risen to 7.2 million. Of these, the World Food Programme (WFP) aims to reach 5.8 million. Other humanitarian assistance is provided through the Government of Zimbabwe, and bilateral support direct to non-governmental organisations in addition to donor help through the WFP. The UK bilateral programme alone is reaching 1.5 million people; 1 million of these are children receiving supplementary feeling in schools, with the remainder comprising particularly vulnerable adults (for example people in the district of Binga), pregnant women, and the elderly.
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 16 January 2003]: The Departments for which I hold ministerial responsibility account for expenditure on these items differently. In particular, accounting for periodicals in Treasury Solicitor's Department include subscriptions to legal journals and updates on loose-leaf specialist legal publications.
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HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate£516;
Treasury Solicitor's Departmentnil;
Crown Prosecution Service£3,217; and
Serious Fraud Office£85.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with her European counterparts concerning the agency workers directive; and if she will make a statement on her Department's policy on the proposed legislation in its present form. 
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Alan Johnson: The proposed directive was recently discussed in the European Union Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 3 December 2002, where I represented the United Kingdom. The Department of Trade and Industry has published an explanatory memorandum about the European Commission's revised proposal which sets out the Government's policy on the proposed directive. I have placed a copy of this in the Libraries of the House.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what export control licence applications were received from Alenia Marconi Systems in the last five years; and what was the outcome of each of these applications. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 27 January 2003]: Details of all relevant export licences issued and refused since 2 May 1997 are published by destination in the Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls, copies of which are placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for North-East Derbyshire (Mr. Barnes), of 16 January, Official Report, column 806, if she will list the call centre scripts that she has gone through. 
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received about the practice of retentions in the construction industry; and if she will make a statement. 
I welcome these and I am pleased that the committee has broadly supported the Government's approach to improving UK construction performance through "Rethinking Construction" and "Accelerating Change". Issues of fair payment and quality, defect-free work are fundamental to the continued success of the UK construction industry.
The Department of Trade and Industry intends to respond to the Select Committee's recommendations on behalf of the Government by Tuesday 4 February. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the Select Committee's recommendations before the Committee has had the opportunity to consider my response.
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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals there are to extend anti-discrimination law to cover discrimination in employment and training on grounds of sexual orientation. 
Alan Johnson: The Government are committed to introduce new legislation (implementing the Article 13 Employment Directive) to outlaw unfair discrimination at work and in training on grounds of sexual orientation by December 2003.
Our plans were published on 23 October 2002 in the consultation document 'Equality and Diversity: The Way Ahead'. Consultation ended on 24 January. We will consider responses before laying regulations before Parliament later in the year.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals she has under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 to allow unmarried partners to leave their pensions to their surviving partner of either sex when they die. 
Alan Johnson: We consulted on proposals to implement the employment directive in the document 'Equality and Diversity: The Way Ahead'. In our view, rules which restrict benefits to opposite sex partnerswhether or not they are married to the pension holderare likely to constitute unlawful discrimination.
Because the directive is 'without prejudice to national laws on marital status and the benefits dependent thereon' however, we proposed that benefits aimed exclusively at married couples would continue to be allowable.
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