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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 13 June 2005


Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office

Harry Cohen: To ask the Solicitor-General what discussions the Government's law officers have had with representatives of Customs and Excise about the merits of revised legal and evidential arrangements in complex and expensive fraud cases involving tax; and if he will make a statement. [1851]

The Solicitor-General: The new Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) was created on 18 April 2005. RCPO is accountable to the Attorney-General and responsible for the prosecution of HM Revenue and Customs cases in England and Wales. The director of RCPO, David Green QC, meets regularly with the Law Officers to discuss the work of the new department. These discussions cover matters of policy and strategy arising from new developments in the law, and also the progress of the department's most serious cases, including complex VAT frauds.


Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Solicitor-General when he will answer the letter from Mr. H. R. Johnson of 18 March 2005, a constituent of the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green; and if he will make a statement. [4613]

The Solicitor-General: I am told my office has no record of receiving a letter dated 18 March 2005 from Mr. H. R. Johnson. However, I will consider a response if the hon. Member sends me a copy of the letter.



Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government are taking to encourage African Governments to tackle corruption. [2944]

Hilary Benn: Corruption is a symptom of poor governance. DFID supports a range of governance reforms to tackle corruption, for example through programmes to improve public financial management and judicial and parliamentary oversight. DFID has also provided technical and financial support to dedicated anti-corruption commissions in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zambia. We are also working with our G8 partners to tackle corruption, for example through the G8 transparency initiative, which focuses particularly on budget and procurement reform. Nigeria is a pilot country.
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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid was donated by the United Kingdom to each African country per head of population in the last financial year; and what ranking the Government apply to the relative poverty of African countries. [2739]

Hilary Benn: The UK reports to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) on overall UK development assistance by calendar rather than financial year. The following table sets out the amount of UK overseas development assistance to each African country for the calendar year 2003. These are the most recent figures available 1 . The table is ranked by the amount of UK overseas development assistance received per head of population.

The Department for International Development's 16 target countries in Africa are highlighted in the table. DFID includes a measure of relative poverty in the financial model which informs the allocation of development assistance to these sixteen countries—specifically gross national income (GNI) per capita, progress towards the millennium development goals and economic vulnerability.

Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development Development Assistance Co-operation (OECD DAC) Online and World Development Report (WDI) Online.
UK Net oda to Africa in 2003

£ millions£ sterling
PopulationUK Net ODAUK ODA per head of population
Sierra Leone5,336,56833.646.304
South Africa45,828,70075.271.642
Congo, Rep.3,757,2632.430.647
Congo Dem.Rep. (Zaire)53,153,36013.880.261
Cote d'lvoire16,835,4201.310.078
Burkina Faso12,109,2300.070.006
Cape Verde469,6810.000.000
Central African Rep.3,880,8470.000.000
Sao Tome and Principe157,4000.000.000

Date: 8 June 2005
DAC Online and WDI Online

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Antiretroviral Drugs

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on progress in making available generic antiretroviral drugs at reasonable prices for the treatment of AIDS in poor countries. [3512]

Mr. Thomas: In December 2004, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that 700,000 people living in developing countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV compared to 400,000 in June 2004. Reductions in the prices of antiretroviral combination therapy have been a key element in this increase. Competition from generic versions of HIV drugs has been important in reducing drug prices, along with action by pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices for proprietary medicines. The UK supports the rights, consistent with international agreements on trade and intellectual property, of developing countries to make informed decisions on the purchase and use of generic HIV drugs to meet their treatment needs.

The WHO will release an updated report on access to HIV treatment in developing countries at the end of June, when progress in reaching the target of three million people on treatment by the end of 2005 can be assessed, including the role of generic drugs.
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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what foreign aid has been given by the UK to Botswana since 1997. [2273]

Hilary Benn: UK foreign aid to Botswana between 1997 and 2003 was worth £28.3 million, either channelled through bilateral aid or multilateral institutions such as the European Union, United Nations and the World Bank. DFID's programmes focused on capacity building and policy development in areas such as animal production and range management, support to civil society and HIV/AIDS. UK aid to Botswana has declined over time owing to DFID's commitment to give 90 per cent. of its bilateral aid to low income countries, with only 10 per cent. going to middle income countries like Botswana. The table gives a breakdown of annual figures up to 2003–04, the last year for which figures are available.
£ million

PeriodBilateral aidMultilateral contributionsTotal
2003–040.7Not available(1)0.7

(1)The 2003 multilateral share figures are currently being calculated and will be available at the beginning of July 2005.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the Government are providing to help tackle HIV/AIDS in Botswana. [2945]

Hilary Benn: UK Government assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention and control in Botswana has been provided through a grant of £7.6 million to the Southern African Development Community. The grant is for the period 2001 to 2006 and is for assistance in Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Given the existing heavy emphasis by the Government of Botswana and international donors upon treatment, DFID has concentrated its support upon prevention. DFID has been working to improve the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, encourage programmes aimed at changing behaviour, increase access to male and female condoms, and to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Health and groups that represent HIV positive people.
Resources from the total have been allocated to Botswana specifically as follows

Area of support project

Organisations supported
Total Budget (£)
National AIDS programme strengthening and support to people living with HIV/AIDSMinistry of Health; Botswana Network of People living with AIDS320,000
STD managementMinistry of Health; Private practitioners230,000
Behaviour change communicationMinistry of Health; National AIDS Council; Botswana National Youth Council; Media294,000
Social marketing of condomsPopulation Services International830,000

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