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Up to and including 2004-05, grant was provided solely as revenue support although Nexus were able to use this for capital spending on the Metro. Since then the annual subsidy has included a separately identifiable amount for capital spend.
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Before 1 April 2008, funding for the statutory minimum bus concession was provided exclusively through the Formula Grant system, which is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). The Department for Transport therefore provided no separate funding for concessionary bus travel from 2001, when the statutory minimum was first introduced, until 2008.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's latest assessment is of progress in relation to the achievement of the millennium development goals. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The UN conducts the official assessment of progress towards the millennium development goals (MDGs). Its latest report relating to 2008 found that the global collective effort is yielding results and that progress is being made globally towards achieving many of the MDGs even in some of the more challenging regions. A number of targets are expected to be reached by their target dates in 2015. The report is available at:
The Department for International Development (DFID) also conducts an annual assessment of progress towards key MDG targets at a country level based on international data. The latest assessment was published in its 2008 autumn performance report (copies of which are also in the parliamentary Library):
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian needs of people in Tamil areas and camps for internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: Since October 2008, more than 284,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have been registered in Government-controlled IDP camps. Freedom of movement is denied in the camps except for some vulnerable groups and the elderly. The remaining IDPs are under military guard. Protection in the camps is a matter of concern. The Department for International Development (DFID) is particularly concerned for the war wounded, malnourished and those separated from their familiesincluding unaccompanied children. The camps are overcrowded and have poor water and sanitation facilitates. Hospitals, such as those in Vavuniya and Mannar, are also overcrowded, having more patients than they can effectively treat.
Access for humanitarian agencies has improved this week, but it remains inconsistent. Continued poor access has impeded agencies ability to improve the conditions in the camps which remain of concern.
The UK Government continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to allow full and unrestricted humanitarian access to all IDPs, to treat IDPs in accordance with accepted international standards and guidelines; and to allow for their rapid and safe return from the camps to their homes.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the proportion of humanitarian aid to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka from (a) his Department, (b) the EU and (c) the UN which was delivered (i) via Sri Lankan Government agencies, (ii) via non-governmental organisations and (iii) directly in the latest period for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) Since September 2008, the Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £12.5 million of humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. Of this, £2.8 million has been provided to UN agencies, £1.5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), £1.235 million to the International Organisation for Migration and £1.050 million to NGOs for a wide range of life-saving humanitarian activities. Approximately £6.0 million remains to respond rapidly to further needs on the ground and for early recovery when the displaced population are able to return home. No funding has been provided to Sri Lankan Government agencies.
(c) The UN Consolidated Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) 2009 for Sri Lanka includes both UN and non-governmental organisations. As of 5 June the CHAP was funded to 40 per cent. at US$61,594,766. An additional $28,143,620 has been pledged to UN and NGO activities outside the CHAP.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government are committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe in the transition to stabilisation and recovery and have been at the forefront of efforts by the international community to support the needs of the Inclusive Government.
Our assistance is aligned to Government priorities but is not currently channelled through their financial systems. We have made it clear, in all our discussions with Ministers and officials from the Inclusive Government, that credible progress and demonstration of a commitment to reform will attract increasing support from donors and other international partners, potentially including direct aid provision. We look forward to working together towards establishing a longer-term development partnership which will address the deeper roots of Zimbabwe's problems.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for further development of his Departments toolkit for business and human rights for use by UK missions overseas. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has developed a series of toolkits to guide our posts in their human rights work overseas. The toolkit on business and human rights is the latest in this series and aims to provide guidance for UK diplomatic missions on how to promote good conduct by British companies operating overseas and to provide specific guidance on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development National Contact Point procedure. The toolkit is still being developed with the help of other Government Departments and external stakeholders. When finalised, it will be disseminated to posts and made available as a resource on the FCOs internal web pages.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Departments latest assessment is of whether the full military and police components mandated for MONUC will be put in place. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The additional infantry, engineers, special forces and police mandated for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1843 have been identified. The UN Secretariat and troop contributing countries are making advanced preparations for their deployment, which they hope will take place in the next few months. Several member states have expressed interest in providing the 200 military trainers mandated, but at present the concept for their use is still being developed
by the UN Secretariat. However, the UN Secretariat has had few offers so far for additional aircraft and intelligence equipment.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which subjects his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) conducted opinion polling in each of the last two years; which such polls canvassed opinion from Departmental employees; and what estimate he has made of his Departments expenditure on such polling. 
Survey of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stakeholders (2008)
Staff engagement survey (2007 and 2008)
Survey measuring awareness of FCO among the public (2008)
Survey of partners across Government (2009)
The FCO is a global organisation consisting of a number of directorates in the UK and over 200 overseas posts. Some directorates and overseas posts conduct independent surveys on specific issues. Information about such surveys is not held centrally. To collate information on surveys conducted across the whole of the FCO would involve collecting information from all directorates and all overseas posts, which would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Eritrean government on the imprisonment of Christians in that country. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Our embassy in Asmara is aware of reports of the detention without charge by the Eritrean Government of members of minority religious groups along with journalists, leading political figures and members of civil society and returned asylum seekers. This contravenes international human rights agreements to which Eritrea is a party and is unacceptable. Eritrea should allow all its citizens to worship as they wish, as set out in Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The UK raises human rights issues including religious freedom with the Eritrean Government both in Asmara and with the Eritrean ambassador to London on a regular basis. My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised human rights with the Eritrean ambassador at the end of last year.
A huge obstacle to achieving any progress on human rights in Eritrea is that the Eritrean police and security services are not willing to engage with our embassy on human rights abuses. This makes following up reports of any abuses, including imprisonments, very difficult.
The EU has also tried to discuss human rights as part of the Article 8 Political Dialogue with Eritrea. Unfortunately, since initial discussions earlier this year the Government of Eritrea have twice refused to have human rights included on the Article 8 Dialogue agenda for discussion.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Eritrean Government on allegations of human rights abuses in that country. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK raises human rights issues with the Eritrean Government both in Asmara and with the Eritrean ambassador to London on a regular basis, highlighting the amount of public and parliamentary interest we receive. My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised human rights with the Eritrean ambassador at the end of last year.
We also discuss human rights as part of the EU via the Article 8 Political Dialogue, with EU Heads of Mission producing a human rights report at the end of January to discuss with the Government of Eritrea. Unfortunately, since initial discussions earlier this year the Government of Eritrea have twice refused to have human rights included on the Article 8 Dialogue agenda for discussion.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 2 April 2009, Official Report, column 1312W, on EC institutions: manpower, what steps he has taken to increase the number of civil service fast streamers working in European Union institutions. 
The Government are continuing to engage with the EU institutions as they introduce reforms to recruitment competitions, seek to increase their outreach activities, and develop their staffing policy. Government Departments are currently discussing whether a revised version of the European Fast Stream should be reintroduced for 2010 and what form it would take. DEFRA is leading on an initiative to increase EU professionalism across the civil service, including increasing the number of UK nationals applying for and passing the EUs recruitment competitions.
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