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Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much (a) bilateral and (b) multilateral aid the UK has given to Haiti in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: Our bilateral assistance between 2000 and 2005 was largely in the form of small grants provided through partnerships with UK international non-governmental organisations and their local partners in Haiti. However, in 200405, of the total amount provided in bilateral aid to Haiti, £1,913,000 was in the form of humanitarian assistance following the outbreak of violence, floods and landslides, and the passage of hurricane Ivan. DFID continues to provide support to Haiti through our partnership programme agreements with British non-governmental organisations (NGO)s working in Haiti, such as Oxfam and the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR).
|UK bilateral (£000)|
The figures provided for multilateral aid reflect the UK's share of contributions to the European Commission, United Nations, World Bank, and others. For example, the UK's recent pledge to the soft loan window of the Caribbean Development Bank, includes close to £3 million for Haiti from 200508.
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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions his Department has had with UK commercial airlines on the carriage of aid collected in the UK to Pakistan as part of the relief effort following the earthquake in Kashmir in October 2005. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID uses an air brokering service for its relief flights arranged through commercial carriers. DFID contracted 15 flights to deliver relief items and 78 flights on behalf of the agencies of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). DFID encouraged the DEC agencies to offer available space on the aircraft to non-DEC agencies where appropriate. DFID was also made aware of a number of organisations being offered free space on commercial airlines outside of this arrangement, for instance one of the DFID supported UK rescue teams received a free outward flight from British Airways.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of remittances sent by migrants to their families in the developing world on reducing poverty; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID has a range of initiatives to enhance the development impact of remittances for developing countries, and this includes an analysis of the effects of migrant remittances in reducing poverty.
New findings from Guatemala show that remittances reduce the level, depth and severity of poverty. Households receiving internal and international remittances spend around 50 per cent. more, respectively, than households with no remittances.
At the level of the economy, research suggests that remittances provide valuable foreign exchange for developing countries, and strengthen the balance of payments. Unlike other financial flows, remittances are counter cyclical, thus alleviating macroeconomic shocks. Remittances can also provide investment capital for economic activity, contributing to economic growth. Where remittance flows are saved rather than spent, they help improve the savings ratios and provide a higher deposit base for the banking system, which is necessary for economic growth.
DFID has a number of initiatives underway to reduce barriers to remittance flows and improve their developmental impact. In particular, DFID has initiated remittance country partnerships with Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana. These partnerships include work to extend access to remittances to poorer and more rural people, encourage greater competition and lower remittance prices, and improve data. DFID also works closely with economists in the World Bank that are researching in depth the impact of remittances on poverty reduction.
In terms of work in the UK, DFID has recently set up a task force comprising of banks and money transfer companies, in order to lower remittance prices and improve the services they provide to low income migrants. The task force will implement recommendations from a public/private sector working group report that DFID launched late last year.
DFID initiated a website (www.sendmoneyhome.org) for those wishing to send remittances to developing countries from the UK, which provides easily available comparative information on remittance prices and providers. The aim is to improve choice and stimulate competition, leading to lower prices and a better service for low income migrants. DFID funded a household survey in the UK among the Bangladeshi community which explores the impact on recipients of remittances to Bangladesh, and has recently commissioned a wider household survey to better quantify remittance flows from key ethnic minority communities within the UK.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much (a) financial and (b) food aid the United Kingdom has given to (i) Sierra Leone and (ii) the Ivory Coast since 1997. 
DFID's total bilateral assistance to Sierra Leone has been £207 million since 1997. Of this, £14.4 million has been in the form of humanitarian assistance, comprising food aid and other humanitarian assistance. The remaining £192.5 million has been in the form of programme aid, direct budget support, technical assistance and other in-kind expenditure. In
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addition to this, the UK's imputed share of financial assistance to Sierra Leone through the EC is £14.4 million since 1997 (see Table 1 for details of assistance by year and type of assistance).
|Fiscal year||Total Bilateral Assistance||Humanitarian Assistance||Other Bilateral Assistance||Imputed Aid through EC(12)|
Regarding Cote d'Ivoire, DFID's total bilateral expenditure since 1997 is £45.9 million. This includes £1.6 million in the form of humanitarian assistance, and £44.3 million in technical cooperation, debt relief and other aid in kind. As its imputed share of EC expenditure, the UK has also provided an additional £18.1 million to Cote d'Ivoire since 1997 (see Table 2 for details of assistance by year and type of aid).
|Fiscal year||Bilateral Total Assistance||Humanitarian Assistance||Other Bilateral Assistance||Imputed Aid through EC(13)|
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