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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department takes to support poor and indebted African nations from the negative effects of vulture funds. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) is addressing this problem in two ways. We are working to prevent debts being sold to vulture funds in the first place and to limit the damage done in cases where debts have already been acquired by vulture funds.
To reduce the risk of debts being sold to vulture funds we have been working with the World Bank to help poor countries buy back their commercial debts at
a substantial discount through the Debt Reduction Facility (DRF). Last year the UK called for assistance from the DRF to be available earlier for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) to reduce the risk of debts falling into the hands of vulture funds. This was agreed in April 2008 by the World Bank Board. We have announced a commitment of up to £10 million for future DRF country operations.
We are also working to help HIPC countries access the legal resources and expertise necessary to defend themselves in cases where their debts are already in the hands of vulture funds. We are pleased that the Board of the African Development Bank agreed in April, with sustained UK support, to promote the establishment of an independent Legal Support Facility to advise countries on how best to tackle vulture fund activity.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what proportion of staff in his Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years; what the total amount of bonuses paid has been; what the largest single payment was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The information requested is set out in full in the following tables. Figures for non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID senior civil servants in 2007-08 are being prepared and are not currently available.
|Non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID senior civil servants (SCS)|
|Non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID staff below SCS|
|(1) The Bonus award scheme for DFID staff below the SCS ended on 31 July 2007.|
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department takes to control the amount of new debt that heavily indebted nations may accumulate. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK Government play a leading role in resolving the debt problems of the poorest countries, and as part of this, we have been at the forefront of international initiatives on responsible lending and borrowing. We strongly support the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF), introduced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in April 2005. This framework helps countries and lenders make informed decisions about new lending, and it determines the terms on which the World Bank and others provide support. Assistance is provided on grant terms to countries that risk accumulating too much debt.
The UK has been working within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to build support for the DSF. In January, members agreed guidelines on their own new lending to the poorest countries. Since 1997, the Government have been carefully examining new lending to heavily indebted poor countries. We provide support for a proposed project only if it is clear that the country can afford to repay the loan and that the lending clearly contributes to a country's economic and social development. DFID also funds work to build the debt management capacity of heavily indebted poor countries.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department provides for the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF); and if he will list the beneficiaries of the programmes organised by the DSF. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK has been a strong supporter of the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF), introduced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in April 2005. It guides borrowers and lenders in considering new loans. It balances the financing countries require for development with the need to reduce the risks of an excessive build up of debt in the future. The Department for International Development (DFID) works closely with the Export Credit and Guarantee Department (ECGD) and HM Treasury to ensure all export credits provided by the UK are fully consistent with the DSF. The UK is also working hard internationally to support the DSF. Within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), we have agreed guidelines on lending to poor countries which came into effect in January 2008.
The DSF is a framework that guides the terms on which the existing aid programmes of the major multilateral development banks (MDBs) are provided. It is used by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The DSF assesses each country's debt situation and the MDBs provide all their aid as grants to any country at risk of debt distress.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid his Department provided to Eritrea in each year since 2001; what types of aid were provided; and if he will make a statement. 
|Financial year||£ million|
95.6 per cent. of all the above was humanitarian assistance.
4 per cent. was other bilateral aid (i.e. grants)
0.4 per cent. was technical cooperation (to 2003-04)
UK support to Eritrea is focused on humanitarian need, channelled through Non-Governmental Organisations and UN agencies. Department for International Development (DFID) framework for Eritrea for 08/09 is £3.1 million.
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