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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the use of private finance initiative funding for waste disposal projects in circumstances where the local authority has opted not to use incineration as a waste disposal method. 
Dan Norris: DEFRA's policy is not prescriptive in relation to the disposal technology procured by an authority using private finance initiative (PFI) funding. DEFRA does however insist that a thorough appraisal of the options is performed and documented as part of the Outline Business Case (OBC). The technology selected for the OBC forms the basis of the OBC costings but does not determine the choice of technology which is ultimately selected in the procurement stage. Hence PFI credit support is not tied to any type of technology and is available to projects both with and without combustion as part of their waste management solution.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to (a) identify viable alternatives to child labour and (b) improve childrens working conditions in the mining industry in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: Viable alternatives to child labour in Afghanistan include raising family incomes and increasing the availability of primary and secondary education. The Department for International Development (DFID) is helping raise family incomes by spending over £180 million on economic development over the next four years (nationally and in Helmand province). DFIDs support for schooling comprises a £225 million contribution to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) over the next four years.
protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the childs education, or to be harmful to the childs health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
Afghanistans responsibilities under this Convention are monitored by the Afghanistan Independent Human Right Commission, support for which is provided by a number of other donors. The Government of Afghanistan has also recently launched a programme that will help identify unlicensed mining operations and enforce safer mining practices.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist women and girls in Africa whose employment and education is jeopardised by the recession. 
Mr. Thomas: The UKs strategy for helping poor countries respond to the impact of the recession includes mobilising additional external resources, especially from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international financial institutions. An extra $50 billion of concessional resources for low-income countries was committed at the London summit in April. The IMF has increased concessional funds to crisis affected countries, helping partner governments to maintain funding of social programmes.
The UK has committed £200 million to a new vulnerability fund, managed by the World Bank, which will scale up social protection. Women and other vulnerable groups are explicitly targeted in many Department for International Development programmes and we have stepped up our bilateral support for social protection. In 2007-08, DFID spent £45 million on social protection in Africa, an increase from £35 million in 2006-07.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made of the number of people who have moved from Burma to Thailand as a result of the renewed military action in the eastern part of that country; and whether such people have access to humanitarian assistance. 
Mr. Michael Foster: Latest estimates from the government of Thailand, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) suggest that about 3,000 people have recently entered Thailand to escape fighting in eastern Burma.
Humanitarian assistance for the refugees is being provided by the Thai authorities, UNHCR, the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) and other NGOs. This assistance includes food, plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, bed-nets and medical care. The Thai authorities are co-ordinating with UNHCR, TBBC and other NGOs on a medium-term plan for caring for the new refugees.
DFID plans to provide about £7.4 million over the next three years to support Burmese refugees in Thailand and internally displaced people inside Burma. This funding includes £1.1 million for TBBC this financial year.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to provide famine relief in Chin state, Western Burma in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster:
In September 2008, the Department for International Development (DFID) approved a grant of £600,000 for emergency aid for people in Chin State suffering from food shortages as a result of rat infestations. In March this year, we increased our funding to £880,000 in response to further needs assessments. The aid is delivered through the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme and their local partners. About 65,000 people have now benefited from it. We continue to keep the situation under close review.
We are also considering, in consultation with the United Nations and other donors, how best to address longer-term food security needs in Chin State and other parts of Burma.
Mr. Michael Foster: Government corruption does not have a significant impact on the effectiveness of UK aid to Cambodia. When designing programmes the Department for International Development (DFID) works closely with the Cambodian Government and other development partners to mitigate against this risk and monitor progress throughout implementation. We also provide support to a joint programme to reform the management of public finances, which continues to make good progress in improving the Cambodian Government's financial systems.
Only 8 per cent. of UK assistance to Cambodia was channelled directly through government systems in 2008. For this, we also designed additional safeguards to ensure UK aid was used effectively, including additional reporting by government on the use of funds. A recent independent country programme evaluation concluded that DFID had made a significant contribution to development in Cambodia.
Mr. Michael Foster: Since January 2008, the Department for International Development no longer purchases bottled mineral water as a matter of course, but instead uses bottled filtered mains water that is prepared on site. This change was made on the grounds of economy and environmental benefits.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many flags his Department owns; and how much has been spent on maintaining flags owned by his Department in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on (a) buying and (b) renting cars in the last financial year for which records are available. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not hold a central record of expenditure on buying and renting cars. Compiling this information would incur disproportionate cost.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of UK overseas development aid on the level of Government corruption in natural resource exporting countries which receive that aid; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) assesses the risk and impact of corruption as part of its country planning process through Fiduciary Risk Assessments and the mandatory Country Governance Analysis (CGA). Recent CGA's have shown positive trends on corruption in a number of natural resource exporting countries where DFID provides support.
For example at the international level, the UK has led on the development of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which requires participating companies in the extractives sector to publish what they pay and governments to publish what they receive in revenues. 28 countries are implementing the EITI and 11 countries have so far produced one or more EITI reports. This represents important progress in the transparency and anti-corruption agendas in natural resource exporting countries. Further information on the EITI can be found on the DFID website:
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of Government corruption on the effectiveness of UK overseas development aid to developing countries; 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) undertakes Fiduciary Risk Assessments (FRAs) in all countries to which DFID is providing, or considering providing, financial aid. These include an explicit assessment of the risk of corruption, the strength of Government financial management systems and the potential effect of the on all Government expenditure including UK aid.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the shortfall in financial assistance for the UN appeal for internally displaced persons from Swat and other parts of Malakand in north west Pakistan; and what plans his Department has for the provision of further assistance to the appeal. 
Mr. Michael Foster: There have been regular discussions between members of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for International Development, and the Government of Pakistan, on the needs of those displaced by conflict in Pakistan. The Prime Minister has also spoken with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Minister of State for International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas), recently met with John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The Department for International Development (DFID) and UK embassies have been lobbying international donors, including the European Commission, to increase their contribution to the response to the humanitarian emergency in North West Pakistan. Funding for the appeal has been increasing and currently stands at 35.5 per cent. We have so far provided £22 million of humanitarian aid, including £12.5 million in support of the UNs appeal. This is the second largest bilateral contribution to the humanitarian effort. We will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation and funding position, and will consider additional funding if needed.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to aid refugees from the Swat valley living in camps or ad hoc accommodation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has so far made available £22 million of humanitarian aid for those people who have been displaced by conflict in Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas and north west frontier province, including the Swat valley. £12.5 million of this has been allocated to support the UN co-ordinated Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan and £9 million has been allocated to the International Committee for the Red Cross. The remainder of our funding is being used to support a local non governmental organisation working with the displaced and to help the overall coordination of the humanitarian effort.
An estimated total of 2.4 million people have been displaced, of which about 200,000 are living in camps and the rest with host communities. DFID's funding is providing food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare and protection for the most vulnerable. DFID is also making contributions to the funding that is being provided by the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund and by the European Commission.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to aid children injured or displaced during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster:
Since September 2008, the Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £12.5 million of humanitarian assistance to NGOs and UN agencies operating in Sri Lanka. This is providing a wide range of life saving activities including
child protection activities, emergency surgery and post-operative follow-up care for war wounded civilians, many of them children.
The UK Government also contribute to UNICEFs work to protect child rights in Sri Lanka. UNICEF monitors instances of child recruitment, works to secure the release of child soldiers and runs a rehabilitation centre for former child combatants.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to improve the survival rate of mothers during childbirth in northern Uganda; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) is working with the Ugandan Government to improve access to good quality health services, including family planning, throughout the country. Our budget support is being used to raise the performance of the Ugandan health system and ensure health workers are well trained and adequately resourced with drugs and supplies.
Over half of the £100 million DFID has programmed for recovery in northern Uganda is targeted at improving the quality of services in conflict affected districts. The programme will help to ensure that good quality maternal health care services are established in these districts of northern Uganda.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question asking what estimate has been made of the average age of the population in each district in each year since 1997. (281982)
Table 1 shows the median age of the resident population in each local authority district in the UK for the years 1997 to 2007. These figures are based on the mid-year population estimates and mid-2007 is the latest year for which data are available.
A copy of the table will be placed in the Library of the House.
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