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Social Housing

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what spending there was on social housing in the borough of Colchester in each year since 1979. [90682]

Yvette Cooper: £77.32 million was spent on social housing in Colchester between 1999 and 2005. Information for the period 1979 to 1998 is not readily available.

Sustainable Communities (Northamptonshire)

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what conclusions have been reached by the Department’s Growth Areas Directorate following its recent discussions with Northamptonshire county council and other local agencies on the infrastructure investment required in Northamptonshire up to 2021 to deliver the Department’s sustainable communities plan. [90614]

Yvette Cooper: As part of their evidence gathering and analysis phase, officials from the Supporting Housing Growth Review team, along with officials from DCLG and other key infrastructure departments, have conducted a series of case study workshops with officials from local authorities across the country. The visit to North Northamptonshire held on 25 July was one of those visits. The review will report to Treasury Ministers as part of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

International Development


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) level of UK public investment and (b) plans for support his Department has in respect of the future reconstruction of Angola. [91082]

Hilary Benn: DFID has a modest bilateral aid programme in Angola, presently at £5 million for 2006-07. The UK also provides other sources of bilateral funding, including demining (at around £750,000 per year), the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool (at just over £1 million in 2006-07), the British Embassy’s Post Bilateral Fund (£110,000 per year), and the Global Opportunities Fund for Climate Change and Energy (representing around £100,000 in 2006-07). In addition, the UK supports multilateral organisations, including the World Bank’s Angola Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (US$25 million over five years), the European Commission’s European Development Fund, which allocated €146 million to Angola for 2002-07 (of which the UK’s share
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was around 17.5 per cent.), and UNICEF's £18 million programme Southern Africa programme (which includes Angola) to which DFID contributes £3.5 million.

After 41 years of conflict, Angola has immense reconstruction challenges. In 2005, Angola ranked 160 out of 175 of the UNDP Human Development Index, with under five, infant and maternal mortality the second highest in the world. With the global rise in oil prices, the Government of Angola have substantially increased revenue to help it tackle these challenges. DFID’s priorities in Angola are to support the consolidation of peace, greater civic engagement in state policy and practice, the transparent use of Government resources in a way that prioritises poverty reduction, and assistance for social sectors where Angola is off-track on the Millennium Development Goals.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has provided for eradication of the drug trade in Colombia in each of the last five years. [90902]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not have a bilateral programme in Colombia and has not supported projects specifically on the eradication of the drugs trade over the last five years.

The ongoing conflict in Colombia has allowed the drugs trade to spiral. The drugs trade in turn is fuelling the conflict. DFID works together with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence to support initiatives on security and conflict reduction in Latin America through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP). In Colombia, the GCPP is currently funding two projects (each up to one year in duration) to strengthen the rule of law; a Community Policing Programme (£27,500) and a programme to increase the capacity of the military and the police to apply the law (£37,500). Projects are also supported on managing the border between Colombia and its neighbours Venezuela (£25,000) and Ecuador (£25,895). Although not specifically on the drugs trade, these GCPP supported projects are assisting the Government of Colombia to tackle organised drug related crime.

DFID works in Latin America through a regional programme primarily aimed at improving the effectiveness of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. In Colombia, DFID has been working with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Colombia to develop a comprehensive Poverty and Inequality Strategy. This work includes studies on the determinants of rural poverty. DFID is also funding Christian Aid, CAFOD and Oxfam in Colombia to carry out work on human rights, conflict prevention and humanitarian activities.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has made available to those affected by the flood in Ethiopia; and if he will make statement. [91005]

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Hilary Benn: DFID has provided an additional £1 million to the Humanitarian Response Fund for Ethiopia, in response to needs which have arisen as a result of the widespread flooding in South Omo, Dire Dawa and other lowland areas of Ethiopia. The Fund is managed by the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator, with support from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). This is a rapid and flexible source of funds which will respond to needs as they arise and in the event of further flooding.

This contribution was made ahead of the international emergency appeal launched by the UN OCHA and the Government of Ethiopia on 25 August. DFID will continue to monitor the situation and will consider responding to any further appeal.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of accounting procedures for aid provided to Iraq from (a) non-Iraqi sources and (b) Iraq’s own resources; what the latest estimate is of the amount of (i) missing money, (ii) misused money and (iii) money which has not been used for its intended purpose; what assessment he has made of whether pledged assistance has delivered the intended outcomes; what assessment he has made of the extent of corruption with regard to aid, including by non-Iraqi sources; and if he will make a statement. [90871]

Hilary Benn: The aid that donors provide to Iraq is subject to standard accounting procedures and rigorous auditing. All of DFID’s funds are subject to rigorous internal controls. The National Audit Office audits DFID’s accounts on an annual basis. Our 2005-06 audited resource accounts are available at

As to the latest estimates of missing or misused donor funds, the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction produces a quarterly report for Congress. Its report in January 2006 found that $8.8 billion under management by the Coalition Provisional Authority between May 2003 and June 2004 had less than adequate financial controls. This audit did not assert that this money could not be accounted for, but rather concluded that financial controls did not meet required standards. Further reports are available at There are regular audits of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) run by the UN and World Bank (further details available at

Regarding estimates of UK aid missing or misused in Iraq, as set out in our 2005-06 resource accounts, DFID has evidence that £254,000 was misused by recipients. In addition, primarily due to the poor security situation, we have been unable to account properly for a further £296,000. This is out of a total of £356 million disbursed by DFID in Iraq since 2003.

Despite difficult security, donor assistance to Iraq has delivered tangible outcomes. For example, DFID has improved electricity transmission lines in southern Iraq which has secured power supplies for more than 1.5 million people. We have also helped to improve water supplies. And have provided strategic economic
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advice to the Ministry of Finance which helped Iraq secure an IMF Standby Arrangement in December 2005.

Regarding Iraqi sources of aid, the Government of Iraq’s accounting system is old and does not accurately reflect public expenditure. Budget outturns for 2005, for example, are estimates and not full audited accounts. A new computerised system should be in place in 2007.

There are currently no reliable estimates of how much of Iraq’s public money is misused or missing. There is smuggling, theft, and corruption in many sectors, especially oil. The UK, alongside the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other donors, continues to work with the Iraqi Government as they seek to improve accountability and transparency in Iraq’s public finances.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of prices for consumer goods on poor people in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [90872]

Hilary Benn: DFID has assessed the level of consumer price inflation in Iraq, and to the extent possible, its impact on the poor. The main causes of inflation are as follows:

There are regular surveys of prices, but the way these are compounded into an overall price level is made problematic by the absence of good survey data on what Iraqis consume. This makes it very difficult to make a good assessment of how the poor are being impacted by inflation. Our rough estimation is that very poor Iraqis are probably impacted less by inflation in Iraq than are average or richer Iraqis. Richer Iraqis consume a lot of fuel—the poor remain somewhat protected by the continued existence of the food rationing system. However, it is also likely that very poor Iraqis have seen less of the boost to incomes experienced by Iraqis as a whole.


Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Conference for Lebanon’s Early Recovery held in Stockholm on 31 August 2006; what the timeframe is for the allocation of pledged money; how it is to be spent; and what other assistance will be provided. [90794]

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Hilary Benn: The Stockholm conference hoped to generate a target figure of $540 million (£284 million) in pledges from the international donor community in support of the Government of Lebanon’s Early Recovery Plan. The final figure pledged was $930 million (£489 million). DFID’s total funding commitment to Lebanon to date, including multilateral contributions, is £22.3 million. The UK is the fifth largest bilateral contributor to the humanitarian effort in Lebanon, and we stand ready to do more as needed.

There are four priorities for the distribution of UK funds:

We urge those donors that have pledged funds to ensure that the full benefits of their commitment reach those most in need as soon as possible.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether there has been Maoist intimidation of (a) UK aid workers and (b) his Department’s staff in Nepal. [90903]

Mr. Thomas: Throughout the Nepal conflict there has been intimidation of DFID and other aid agency workers by both Maoists and Nepal Government Security Forces. Since the mutually agreed ceasefire in May 2006, intimidation of aid workers has decreased significantly but the situation varies across the country.

In some areas, the Maoists continue to intimidate aid workers in order to gain funds or to force formal written recognition for parallel government systems. Although the Maoist central leadership have publicly stated that development should continue unhindered and that forced collection of “taxes” by their cadres is forbidden, this directive is not uniformly followed by all regional or district Maoist representatives.

For DFID, staff safety and security is the first priority. The DFID Nepal Risk Management Office works closely with the UN and other donor agencies to manage and minimise the risks associated with acts of intimidation. Where there have been direct threats to staff safety, DFID has suspended activities in those districts where threats have been made until assurances have been received and threats withdrawn.

DFID took the lead role in producing a set of Basic Operating Guidelines which lay out the basic principles of engagement for development workers in Nepal. The guidelines have been signed by representatives of ten bilateral partners in Nepal and, in 2005, both the Maoists and the Government of Nepal committed themselves to following the principles set out in the guidelines.

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make an assessment of the conditions in the internally displaced people’s camps in Darfur; and what assessment he has made of the extent of migration back to their homelands by those who have been living in the camps. [91006]

Hilary Benn: Conditions in the Internally Displaced People’s (IDPs) camps in Darfur stabilised during 2005, bringing mortality and malnutrition indicators in the majority of camps below the emergency threshold. The camps are still very basic, however, and many of the IDPs are now in their second or third year in camps originally designed to last for six months. Since the recent upsurge in violence, there have been a further 250,000 people displaced. This year there have also been outbreaks of cholera, and security has deteriorated in many of the camps. This insecurity has begun to hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance and comes at a time of seasonal food shortages.

The number of returns made by IDPs to their homes is currently negligible. While there is some movement back to villages (generally connected to the agricultural cycle), these are largely just day trips; the pervasive insecurity preventing longer stays. The UK is actively supporting the African Union, the UN and the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement in order to re-establish security and the rule of law and, ultimately, create an environment in which IDPs can safely return to their homes. For this to happen a transition to a UN mission is essential.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to help with the control and treatment of (a) tuberculosis, (b) multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and (c) extreme drug resistant tuberculosis in the developing world; and if he will make a statement. [91079]

Mr. Thomas: DFID is very concerned with the spread of the new, highly resistant form of tuberculosis, referred to as extreme drug resistant TB (or XDR-TB). This is virtually untreatable and is made worse by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, because HIV makes people more susceptible to TB.

Resistance to anti-TB drugs occurs because of poorly managed TB care. The best way of preventing the development of drug resistance is to ensure all TB patients complete treatment with effective drugs.

DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course) remains at the heart of the Stop TB Strategy for effective diagnosis and treatment of TB. The World Health Organisation and partner agencies have developed the DOTS-Plus approach for the management of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) which includes rational use of second line drugs.

In 2004, DOTS strategy was extended to cover 183 countries, and there were 4.4 million new and relapse TB cases notified, of which 2.1 million were new cases.

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The UK supports TB control through a variety of channels, including bilateral country programmes and through support to international organisations and partnerships such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), the World Bank, the European Commission, WHO and the Stop TB Partnership.

DFID is a founder member of UNITAID (the International Drug Purchase Facility) which will be launched this month at the United Nations General Assembly, and will provide additional funding to help the scale-up of services to improve access to treatment for AIDS, TB and malaria.

The UK has already pledged to provide £100 million to GFATM in both 2006 and 2007, (subject to performance). We will also provide £5 million to support the work of the Stop TB Partnership and its Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015. In January this year, the Chancellor also announced new UK support to combat TB in India, where DFID will provide £41.7 million over five yeas.

The development of new drugs will be crucial to the treatment and management of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and XDR-TB. DFID has a long history of supporting research on TB and we currently support research programme consortia on communicable disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Nuffield Centre for International Health at Leeds University. Both programmes will receive £5 million each over the next five years.

DFID is also supporting the research and development of TB drugs and diagnostics via WHO’s programme on Tropical Disease Research (TDR) and the Global Alliance for TB Drugs. The Global Alliance will receive £6.5 million from 2005-08 for the development of new TB drugs.

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