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In practice, the majority of our work on rural, urban and humanitarian water supply and sanitation services is spent through Governments, not-for-profit or
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humanitarian agencies (this was around 95 per cent. of our bilateral spend in 2003-04). We are currently actively involved in seven African countries (Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia). In these countries our effort is focused on helping Government and donors deliver more effective water services. We are engaged in sector working groups which aim to promote partnerships (including within the public sector and civil society) that will deliver effective services on the ground and increase access for poor people through better co-ordination at both national and local level.

I am closely monitoring our progress in water and sanitation and DFID publishes regular updates on our website. The latest update is available on DFID’s website at

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to assist poorer countries in improving their water supplies. [78893]

Hilary Benn: DFID is committed to helping achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe water by 2015. Our programmes are focused on sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, where achieving the target will be most difficult.

DFID’s Water and Sanitation strategy was set out in the 2004 Water Action plan. The Secretary of State has reinforced DFID’s commitment to doing more in his speeches on World Water day in March 2005, and at DFID’s External Water Forum in February 2006.

DFID is committed to doubling spending on water in Africa to £95 million by 2008. We are currently actively involved in seven African countries (Ethiopia, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia), up from only two years ago; and through our funding of other agencies’ programmes, we reach many other countries. We are also committed to creating an international system that works more effectively than it does now. We work closely with the World Bank, which is now more focused on water, and with UN Water, to improve co-ordination of the UN agencies operating water and sanitation programmes.

DFID closely monitors progress in water and sanitation and publishes regular updates on the DFID website. The latest update is available on DFID’s website at

World Bank

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what key proposals he made to the World Bank Spring Meeting; what decisions the Bank took on (a) these proposals and (b) other matters; and if he will make a statement. [77763]

Hilary Benn: Major UK objectives for the World Bank 2006 Spring Meeting were delivery on 2005 commitments, governance and corruption, climate change and clean energy, and the Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa. The Development Committee
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focused its discussion on two World Bank documents: (i) The Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2006: Strengthening Mutual Accountability—Aid, Trade and Governance and (ii) Clean Energy and Development: Towards an Investment Framework.

The GMR sets out clearly the progress that has been made on tackling poverty, and the challenges that remain. We noted that almost all developing countries are off-track to meet at least some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the lack of progress in Africa is especially worrying. More aid is clearly essential, and it must be delivered more effectively. We called on the World Bank, other bilateral and multilateral agencies to take action, and ensure that we live up to the commitments made in Paris on aid effectiveness last year, including a country-based approach. The Results and Resources Frameworks, first suggested in the Bank's Africa Action Plan, are a good vehicle for improving mutual accountability and we urged the Bank to develop and implement them quickly. We also called on donors to give more emphasis to assisting the poorest countries, including fragile states and make commitments to increased and long-term resources for education so that developing countries can fully finance their education plans over the long-term.

The Development Committee agreed that donors should fully implement the commitments they have made for substantial increases in aid volumes, and that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have a key role in helping countries ensure that increases in aid volumes can be absorbed effectively, consistent with macro-economic stability and growth objectives. Rapid progress was required to implement the framework agreed in the Paris Declaration for enhancing aid effectiveness through a stronger focus on results. Donors need to improve the quality of aid, modalities of aid delivery to reduce volatility, achieve greater predictability, and provide stronger alignment with national poverty reduction strategies. They were encouraged where possible to move towards multi-year plans and commitments, and be ready to finance recurrent costs where sector policies are sound and fiduciary conditions are adequate. The Committee agreed that the World Bank and other partners should improve their coordination at the country level, particularly in strengthening health services and improving access to good quality education, to reduce transaction costs and help increase absorptive capacity. Donors should fill the Education Fast Track Initiative current financing gap and a progress report on Education for All should be submitted to the Annual Meeting in Singapore. The Committee urged the Bank to implement the annual Results and Resources Frameworks.

The focus of this year's GMR was governance. Prior to the Development Committee, I wrote an article on corruption and participated in a forum on governance and corruption at the Center for Global Development in Washington. At the Committee, I underlined that governance was critical for development and achieving the MDGs, and an essential element of the compact between developing countries, developed countries and international institutions. Only countries themselves can make the decisive changes that are needed. However, donors can help the process of creating more effective states and it is vital that we assist. The proposed Bank
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framework for monitoring provided a practical and useful starting point, and should be developed further to include aspects such as the extent to which the state responds to the wishes of the people, particularly the poor. We strongly supported the message in the report that corruption is an outcome of poor governance, and caused by a number of failures of national and global systems. It should not be tolerated; but we made clear that our work on tackling corruption needs to get better at addressing the failures, and connect better with the people who have the power and motivation to do something about it. The international community must work collaboratively and take a firm line on the need to tackle and prevent corruption. It must not equate to doing nothing in poor countries where corruption is an issue. Instead, we must find more effective ways of engaging.

I called on the World Bank to develop a framework for assisting developing countries with their long-term efforts to improve governance, and tackle corruption where it needs addressing. The framework will need to include how we can best ensure that aid is used for the purpose for which it was intended. This will include strong, independent units to detect and investigate fraud; strengthening national financial and accountability systems more effectively; and how to address the corruption that comes from beyond national borders, including developing global initiatives, such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. We urged the World Bank to consult widely in taking forward this work, recognising that addressing governance failures will require action from all parts of the international community, not only from developing countries. It is essential that the framework commands broad support.

The Development Committee endorsed these views and the main messages of the report. It called on the World Bank to develop and submit to the Annual Meetings in Singapore a broad strategy for helping member countries strengthen governance and deepen the fight against corruption, with clear guidelines for World Bank operations.

On clean energy and development, I made clear that the effects of climate change are already being felt in many developing countries and will seriously impact our global efforts to reduce poverty and meet the MDGs. Responsibility for mitigating climate change requires urgent action on the part of richer countries, while some fast-growing middle-income countries must shift to cleaner, more efficient energy production to avoid exacerbating the problem. Meanwhile, developing countries need access to affordable, reliable and clean energy to grow their economies and to lift people out of poverty. We urged the international community to act now to support countries to do this in a sustainable way and so achieve a double-dividend of poverty reduction and environmental protection. Helping member countries meet these challenges should be a key objective of the World Bank and other multilateral development banks over the coming years.

We welcomed the valuable work undertaken already in the World Bank to develop an investment framework to accelerate investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and adaptation to climate change. This now needs to be developed further into an ambitious global investment framework based on sound analysis of existing financial resources and identification of gaps
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where new instruments are needed. We urged the World Bank to work closely with the multilateral development banks, private sector and civil society to create a global joint investment framework to be presented at the Annual Meetings in Singapore. The Development Committee endorsed the importance of this work and asked the Bank to submit a report on progress towards an investment framework in September.

In the margins of the Spring Meetings, I co-hosted with President Wolfowitz a meeting to raise awareness among donors and African countries of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa. African governments and institutions know that creating the right environment in which people and firms feel comfortable investing their money is crucial for Africa's prosperity. If Africa is to achieve the growth necessary to meet the MDGs, the business environment must improve significantly. Boosting African growth and poverty reduction is, ultimately, what the ICF is all about. I urged donors to co-fund the ICF and cooperate operationally so that it can add value and truly be complementary to existing work. African participants welcomed the formation of the ICF with its strong African ownership. Donors (including the International Finance Corporation and the European Commission) and companies have also responded positively and the ICF was launched in Africa on 1 June.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development to what extent the World Bank and International Monetary Fund require developing countries to liberalise their economies as a condition for aid; and what recent changes have been made to their policies on liberalisation. [77764]

Hilary Benn: In 2004, the World Bank abolished its practice of "prescriptive conditionally", which meant countries were urged to adopt specific economic policies to receive budgetary support. The UK pressed for a review of the World Bank's use of conditionality, and this concluded in September 2005. The World Bank undertook analysis of previous practice and recent thinking, and sought contributions and views from many sources, including developing countries. I made a written submission, setting out the Government's stance, and particularly emphasising the importance of country ownership in setting the development agenda. The review report has been published and is available on the World Bank website at . It showed that the use of conditionality in sensitive areas, such as trade liberalisation and privatisation, had declined in recent years. The review also proposed five good practice principles to guide the World Bank's use of conditionality, and these were endorsed by ministers.

The principles are:




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The World Bank will be reporting back in the next few months on how it has implemented these principles.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also improved its practice on conditionality in recent years. The conditionality guidelines approved by the IMF in 2002 are similar to those adopted by the World Bank. A review of IMF conditionality last year demonstrated a sharper focus on core areas of the Fund's remit in macroeconomic management and a reduction in conditions on privatisation and liberalisation. A separate review of the Fund's trade policy and conditions showed a sharp reduction in overall conditions on trade policy since the adoption of the guidelines. In addition, it demonstrated a shift towards conditions on trade governance, such as reforming customs administration, and away from trade policy such as tariffs. The Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF is currently undertaking a study to look at the process of setting conditionality on economic reforms, which is expected to report later this year.

Northern Ireland

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland were prosecuted for illegally obtaining benefits in 2005-06. [78740]

Mr. Hanson: 191 people have been prosecuted for illegally obtaining benefits in Northern Ireland in the 2005-06 financial year.

Birth/Abortion Statistics

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) live births and (b) abortions there were in Northern Ireland in 2005. [77357]

Mr. Hanson: The number of live births registered to mothers resident in Northern Ireland in 2005 was 22,328.

The Abortion Act 1967 does not extend to Northern Ireland. Consequently the termination of a pregnancy is not permitted except where necessary to save the life of the mother or where continuation of the pregnancy would involve risk of serious injury to her physical or mental health.

Information on the number of abortions in 2005 is not yet available. In 2004 there were 2,324 admissions to hospitals in Northern Ireland with a diagnosis of
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abortion, which includes miscarriage and unintentional loss of the foetus, 59 of these were medical abortions.


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many small to medium businesses have gone into receivership in the Province in the last three years, broken down by Westminster constituency; and if he will make a statement. [77338]

Maria Eagle: The following table shows the number of administrative receiverships in small to medium Northern Ireland businesses in the last three years.

Administrative receiverships
Year ending 31 March Number







The information is not held by Northern Ireland constituency and is therefore not readily available in the format requested.

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) personal bankruptcies and (b) company failures have taken place in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [77359]

Maria Eagle: The following table shows the number of personal bankruptcies and company failures for the last financial year.

Year ending 31 March 2006

Bankruptcies (“personal”)


Compulsory Liquidations


Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations


Child Support Agency

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland have been non-compliant with a Child Support Agency assessment in each year since 2000. [78749]

Mr. Hanson: The number of people who have been non-compliant with a Child Support Agency assessment in each year since 2000 is as follows:

Number of people













Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in how many cases in Northern Ireland the Child Support Agency ordered a deduction from earnings to be made in each of the last five years. [78750]

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Mr. Hanson: In each of the last five years, the Child Support Agency has ordered a Deduction from Earnings Order in the following number of cases:












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