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Overseas Aid

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether it is his policy to find other mechanisms to fund pro-poor policies in those countries that have had budgetary support suspended or reduced as a consequence of actions by the recipient government. [43815]

Hilary Benn: It is DFID policy to seek other ways to fund poverty reduction efforts in countries where budget support has been suspended or reduced.

DFID may decide to suspend or reduce budget support if we think that a partner government has breached its partnership commitments. DFID will consider a range of responses, including to change the way we deliver our aid to government and/or to switch some or all of our aid away from government to non-government channels.

In deciding how to respond to a breach, DFID will consider the impact that any decision will have on poor people and longer term poverty reduction efforts. For example in Uganda, at the end of 2005, DFID decided to re-allocate £15 million to humanitarian assistance in northern Uganda provided through the UN. In Ethiopia in 2005, DFID decided to suspend budget support due to election related violence and detention of the opposition. Instead we plan to channel the aid through a safety net programme for the most vulnerable people, and support to service delivery by local government.
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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development to which countries offered budgetary support, where budgetary support has subsequently been suspended or refused; and what the reasons were in each case. [43820]

Hilary Benn: In 2005–06, DFID formally committed to provide Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) (which includes both budget support which is provided to finance implementation of the poverty reduction strategy, and budget support earmarked to specific sectors within governments' programmes) to the Governments of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.

Thus far, in 2005–06, the PRBS has been either fully or partially suspended in Ethiopia and Uganda.

In Ethiopia, £50 million of general budget support was suspended following election related violence and the detention of opposition.

In Uganda, of the £50 million general budget support planned, £15 million was suspended due to a significant overspend on public administration and concerns about the political transition and prospects for a free and fair election.

Palestinian Authority

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken to monitor the expenditure of development aid within the Palestinian authority to ensure that it does not (a) support and (b) sustain terrorist-related activities. [41892]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 18 January 2006]: The UK Government absolutely condemns all acts of terrorism and takes concern over the use of UK aid very seriously. The UK Government are committed to ensuring that all UK development assistance is properly accounted for, used for the intended purposes and represents value for money.

Since 2004, all DFID financial support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) budget has been provided through a Reform Trust Fund managed by the World Bank. Funding is conditional on the achievement of benchmarks for reform, progress against which is carefully monitored. The benchmarks cover the PA's audit and accounting processes as well as issues such as pension reform, the wage bill and the PA's budget process. The benchmarks require that the PA submit its annual financial statements to the Palestinian Legislative Council and be independently audited. This is intended to ensure legitimate usage of PA funds and that taxpayers' funds achieve value for money.

DFID, along with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donors that provide budget support, undertake twice-yearly reviews of the PA's progress against its reform benchmarks and maintain close contact with the PA at all times. DFID and other Trust Fund donors have made it clear to the
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PA that it would be unacceptable if PA budgetary resources were used in any way that supported or condoned terrorism and that budget support would be suspended in such an event.

Other forms of DFID assistance to the Palestinian people are channelled through organisations whose accounts are independently audited.

Priority Countries (Funding)

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State forInternational Development how much funding has been allocated to budget support for each of his Department's 20 priority countries; and how much of that funding has been allocated to (a) health and (b) education. [42449]

Hilary Benn: DFID does not have a classification list of priority countries as such but in our public service agreement we do have a number of key countries in Africa and Asia, 25 in total, in which we monitor progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. These countries have been chosen because they are DFID partner countries with high numbers of poor people and receive the largest proportions of total DFID spending in these continents.

These countries are set out in the following table along with the amounts of poverty reduction budget support received over the past five years. The amount of budget support allocated to the specific sectors of health
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and education are detailed in the second table but the majority of this funding is provided as general budget support and not allocated to any specific sector.
Poverty reduction budget support for DFID PSA countries
£ million

Congo (Dem Rep)00000
Sierra Leone19.510101012
South Africa00000

Sector allocated expenditure on Health and Education through PRBS
£ million


£ million


Private Members' Bills

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list private Members' Bills introduced (a) under Standing Order No. 14(6), (b) Standing Order No. 23 and (c) Standing Order No. 57 which were (i) supported and (ii) opposed by his Department in each session since 1997–98. [41637]

Hilary Benn: In July 2005, the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) introduced the International Development (Anti-corruption Audit) Bill under Standing Order 57. This was tabled for Second Reading on 14 October and again on 28 October but was not reached. In 2002–03 and 2003–04 no private Members' Bills were introduced which fell under the departmental responsibility of DFID. No information is held about private Members' Bills presented prior to this time.

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