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Tax Credits

John Thurso: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) working and (b) child tax credit award notices issued to couples in 2003–04 omitted the earnings of one of the partners resulting in an overpayment which the Revenue is now seeking to recover; and if he will make a statement. [218542]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available. The Inland Revenue is aware of a small number of occasions in 2003–04 when a tax credit award notice omitted the earnings of one partner. No separate records are available of precisely how many cases were involved.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in the Stroud constituency have been required to pay back overpayments of (a) working tax credit, (b) child tax credit and (c) both working and child tax credit. [218643]

Dawn Primarolo: Details of how overpayments are recovered are provided in the Inland Revenue's Code of Practice 26 What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit." Wherever practical overpayments are recovered out of future tax credit payments. Where entitlement has ended and there remains an overpayment to be recovered, the Inland Revenue issues claimants with a 'Notice to Pay'. Within the guidelines of Code of Practice 26 the claimant has the option to choose to pay back an overpayment over 12 months.

Information on the number of households in Stroud sent notices to pay is not available.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Cambodia

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what development aid has
 
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been provided by the UK to Cambodia in each year since 1997; and whether the aid programme has been tied to (a) democratic and (b) economic reforms. [218183]

Hilary Benn: UK Government development assistance to Cambodia since 1997 can be broken down as follows:
UK Government
(£ million financial year)
UK share of EC assistance (£ million calendar year)
1997–984.82.9
1998–995.53.0
1999–20007.02.2
2000–017.53.9
2001–026.42.8
2002–039.82.2
2003–048.5

DFID's assistance is focused on Public Financial Management, HIV and AIDS, delivering health services to poor people and strengthening local government systems to enable poor people to have a say in decisions that affect them.

We do not make our aid conditional on specific policy decisions by partner governments, or attempt to impose policy choices on them. Instead we agree with partners on the purpose for which aid is being given, and agree benchmarks to assess progress.

In Cambodia, the Government sets benchmarks to monitor progress with implementing its poverty reduction strategy in discussion with donors at an annual meeting and these are monitored together throughout the year. These include benchmarks relating to governance, the economy and democratic processes. These benchmarks facilitate a dialogue between Government and donors on progress but our assistance is not tied to these benchmarks.

Iran Earthquake

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what assessment has been made of the extent of the damage caused by the Zarand earthquake in South Eastern Iran; and if he will make a statement; [218992]

(2) what assistance the UK has offered Iran following the Zarand earthquake in South Eastern Iran. [218993]

Hilary Benn: The Earthquake struck near the town of Zarand on 22 February at 05.55 am local time registering at 6.4 on the Richter scale. The Government of Iran report 490 deaths and 900 people injured. 59 villages and around 35,000 people have been affected.

The Iranian Government has not requested international assistance and no humanitarian agency is planning to launch an appeal for assistance. The Government of Iran and the Iranian Red Crescent Society are responding to the needs.

Following the news of the tragedy, DFID's Emergency Response Team was immediately activated and put on standby to provide assistance should the Iranian Government requested it. The Iranian officials informed the UK embassy in Tehran that international search and rescue teams were not required and other forms of international assistance are not needed at
 
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present. DFID officials remain in close contact with partners on the ground and continue to monitor the situation.

Low Income Countries (Expenditure)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much each low income country has spent on (a) health, (b) education and (c) debt repayment in each year since 2001. [218158]

Hilary Benn: The latest World Bank 'World Development Indicators' report (2004) shows health expenditure per capita and health expenditure as a percentage of GDP for each country in the world where data is available (Table 2.14). The most recent data are for 2001. I have arranged for a document entitled 'Tables for Parliamentary Question UIN 218158' to be deposited in the Libraries of the House. This contains a table on health spend taken from the World Development Indicators online database to which DFID subscribes. Data can also be accessed on line at http://www.worldbank.org/data/databytopic/health.html. Select 'Go to Health Topic Indicators' and then the countries or country groupings of interest.

The hard copy of the World Development Indicators report (2004) also has in Table 2.10, data on education inputs. This table can be downloaded from http://www.worldbank.org/data/databytopic/education.html This shows the percentage of total government expenditure on education (2001–02) and public expenditure per primary, secondary and tertiary student (1990–91 and 2001–02). A copy of the table will be deposited in the Library in the document mentioned previously; 'Tables for Parliamentary Question UIN 218158'.

Information on debt repayment is available in another World Bank publication 'Global Development Finance'. The latest edition is from 2004. 'Net flows and transfers on debt' are shown in Table 5 of Volume II of this report, which gives 'country tables'. This table shows average data for the period 1997–2001 and data for 2002. It will also be deposited in the Library of the House in the document 'Tables for Parliamentary Question UIN 218158'. It is available online from: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/RESEARCH/EXTPROSPECTS/GDFEXT/GDFEXT2004/0,,contentMDK:20177059~ menuPK:335441~paqePK:64097019~piPK:64096667~ theSitePK:335432.00.html

An IMF publication 'Government Finance Statistics' provides more data which should allow direct comparison of government expenditure on health and education. This document is available in the House of Commons Library.

Hard copies of all the reports mentioned above are available in the House of Commons Library.

Malaria Vaccines

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on the development of malaria vaccines in each year since 2001. [218145]


 
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Hilary Benn: To date DFID has not directly funded any research into the development of malaria vaccines. However, the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, recently announced that the Government are ready to work with other governments to enter into agreements to purchase malaria vaccine in advance in order to ensure a secure market. This funding mechanism, known as the Advanced Purchase Commitment (APC), will aim to attract private investment into vaccine development and production. The Treasury estimates that an APC for malaria would cost the UK £48 million per year giving a total of £288 million over the next six years.

Ministry of Defence

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been paid by his Department to the Ministry of Defence in each year since 2001, broken down by project. [218151]

Hilary Benn: Since 2001, there have been three occasions, including the current Indian Ocean disaster, that DFID has requested the Ministry of Defence's assistance to provide relief to countries affected by disasters. In 2001 following the Gujarat earthquake, DFID refunded £98,000 to the MOD for the transportation of UK search and rescue teams to the disaster site. In 2004, following hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne, DFID refunded £13,000 to the MOD for the replacement of relief items held on the naval task force that were provided, at DFID's request, to the affected countries. The marginal costs of MOD assistance in support of the humanitarian relief effort in response to the Indian Ocean earthquake-Tsunami is estimated at about £2.5 million.


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