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Agricultural Subsidies

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what account is taken of the level of public subsidy for agriculture in developing countries in deciding allocations of UK development aid. [27302]

Mr. Thomas: DFID operates an annual review of budgets that includes deciding how much money to allocate to each developing country. The process involves dialogue at all levels, starting with country offices and culminating in approval by DFID's management board and Ministers.

To help inform the discussion, DFID uses a financial model to generate suggested allocations for bilateral country programmes. The model takes account of both the extent of a country's poverty and the likely effectiveness of aid in reducing its poverty. Vulnerability to economic shocks and the amount of aid which countries are likely to receive from other donors are also taken into account. In addition to the model's results, the regional divisions responsible for DFID's bilateral country programmes analyse a range of factors when considering allocations. These include the effectiveness of multilateral channels, conflict and reconstruction needs, inequality and social exclusion, our historical engagement and the political environment.

The central process to allocate resources between developing countries and regions does not give specific consideration to levels of public subsidy for agriculture. However, at country level, DFID allocates its resources to support national strategies for growth and poverty reduction. DFID country programmes work with national governments to identify the most effective way for DFID to support these strategies. Discussions with governments on the allocation of DFID resources at country level are likely to take into account the broad range of policies and programmes set out in national strategies.
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Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions his Department has held with the World Bank in relation to (a) water privatisation in Bolivia and (b) the need to consider the implications of the projects it funds for poor citizens in each recipient country. [26987]

Hilary Benn: DFID has not held any discussions with the World Bank on water privatisation in Bolivia as DFID does not work and has not worked in the water or sanitation sector in Bolivia.

DFID supports a World Bank managed facility called the Global Partnership for Output-Based Aid (GPOBA). GPOBA supports the design and piloting of performance based approaches for targeting public funding to subsidise the delivery of basic services to poor people. In early 2005, officials discussed with the managers of GPOBA, the possible involvement of GPOBA in piloting subsidies for water connections in El Alto, but this has not happened.

The UK Government's position on water privatisation in general is made clear in our policy on conditionality, available on the DFID website at The Government do not make its aid conditional on policy decisions by partner governments, or attempt to impose policy choices on them, including in the area of water privatisation. Where appropriate, DFID responds to requests from developing country governments for assistance to help improve the efficiency of water utilities. If a country has held an extensive public consultation exercise and has decided that it wishes to involve the private sector in the management of water, then DFID can provide them with the information to help them to do so.

The UK Government also uses its position on the Board of the World Bank and IMF to influence their approach to conditionality in general, and conditionality in sensitive areas such as water privatisation in particular. The UK led calls for a review of the Bank's policy and practice on conditionality, and this has just concluded. New best practice principles have been endorsed, which accord well with the UK approach, and we will be monitoring their implementation carefully.

The World Bank systematically considers the impacts of its operations on poor people in recipient countries. The Bank's mission is to reduce global poverty and all its operations are designed to improve the lives of the poor. The Bank also uses a range of tools to assess the likely impact of its operations on specific groups of poor people. When the Bank lends for specific projects, it uses safeguard policies which are designed to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process. When the Bank lends to support countries' policy and institutional reforms, it conducts Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) which assesses the likely impact of policy reforms on different groups, with a particular focus on the poor and vulnerable. Both safeguard policies and PSIA are used before projects are discussed at the Bank Board, and often result in changes to project design. More information on both can be found on the World Bank website, at and
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Central America

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance has been provided by his Department to help with the recovery from the damage in Central America caused by hurricanes. [26975]

Mr. Thomas: DFID provided a total of £250,000 of emergency relief to Guatemala and El Salvador after Hurricane Stan. This support was provided through Plan International UK, £103,000 (70 per cent. for Guatemala and 30 per cent. for El Salvador) and through Care International UK, £100,000 for Guatemala, and £50,000 for El Salvador.

DFID also supports relief and reconstruction through its contributions to multilateral agencies. The European Commission Humanitarian Department (ECHO) provided €5.7 million (including 18 per cent. DFID contributions) to support those affected by flooding and mudslides in Guatemala and El Salvador.

The Government of Guatemala has requested that the World Bank focus part of its loan to the Ministry of Health, to help rebuild seven local hospitals and clinics in the affected area. Other multilateral agencies are considering how their programmes in Guatemala and El Salvador might support reconstruction efforts.

During Hurricane Beta, DFID asked the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to place its frigate, HMS Cumberland, located in the Caribbean, on stand by and offer its assistance to the Government of Nicaragua. This assistance was not required as the hurricane changed course. The Government of Nicaragua is providing emergency food and shelter from existing resources. DFID will provide £30,000 to Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast civil society and universities to work with affected riverside and coastal communities, helping them to reduce their dependence on food aid over the next six months.

Commonwealth Countries

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which country in the Commonwealth is the least developed; and what funding his Department provided to it in 2004–05. [27236]

Hilary Benn: Using the amount of gross national income (GNI) per capita as an indicator of development, Sierra Leone with the lowest GNI per capita could be regarded as the least developed Commonwealth country. In 2004–05 DFID provided £27.3 million in development assistance to Sierra Leone. DFID also provides aid contributions to multilateral institutions some of which will also benefit Sierra Leone. The estimated UK share of the multilateral aid benefiting Sierra Leone for 2004 is not yet available; however in 2003, the estimated amount was £6.3 million.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the 10 largest amounts of damages paid out by his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the nature of the claim was in each case. [27725]

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Hilary Benn: As from 1 November 2004, the 10 largest amounts of compensation paid by DFID for damages, and the nature of the claims, were as shown in the following table:
Nature of claimAmount (£)
Compensation paid to a member of staff for the loss of personal effects15,378.28
Interest and penalty payment to the Inland Revenue11,320.00
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.5,832.33
Compensation paid to a landlord for destruction, by terrorists, of a DFID rented house in Nepal3,756.00
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.3,473.14
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.3,151.00
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.3,004.10
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.2,825.35
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.2,214.88
Compensation paid to a pensioner for arrears of payment due.1,899.67

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