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Social Services: Finance

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the circumstances in which properties may have to be sold to pay for the residential care costs of people who require such care in cases where relatives are resident in such properties. [226725]

Phil Hope: The Government have taken steps to help people avoid having to sell their homes during their lifetime to pay for residential care. Since October 2001, local councils have been able to enter into a deferred payments agreement with people about to enter residential care. This allows people with property, but without income and other assets sufficient to meet their assessed financial contribution to the cost of residential care, to have a legal charge placed on their property to meet any shortfall. The local council then meets the cost of the person's residential care and reclaims the debt from the person's estate when their affairs are wound up. This gives people more options for meeting care home fees and avoids the need for their property to be sold during their lifetime.

Local authorities (LAs) assess a person's ability to pay charges for residential care using the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992 and statutory guidance, entitled the Charges for Residential Accommodation Guide (CRAG). The guidance helps LAs to understand the charging regulations and ensures a consistent approach to charging. Copies of the Regulations and CRAG are available in the Library.


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In assessing a person's contribution towards the cost of their residential care, the value of their property is not always taken into account. It is disregarded where it continues to be occupied by the resident's spouse, partner or another relative who is over 60 or who is incapacitated, a lone parent with a dependent child who is the resident's estranged or divorced partner or a child under 16 whom the resident is liable to maintain.

Surgery: Private Sector

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were referred from private hospitals to NHS hospitals following complications after operations in each of the last four years; and what the estimated cost was to the NHS of caring for patients who required further treatment following operations at private hospitals in each of the last four years. [225542]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is not held centrally.

International Development

Adam Smith Institute

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many projects the Adam Smith Institute is undertaking for his Department; and how many contracts his Department has awarded to the Institute in the last five years. [224817]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not awarded any contracts to the Adam Smith Institute in the last five years.

However, we have issued a number of contracts to Adam Smith International Ltd., which is a separate, self-financing commercial organisation. Details of all centrally-let contracts since January 2005 are published on DFID's website

Departmental Internet

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much the (a) recent redesign and (b) subsequent maintenance of his Department’s website cost. [226110]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: We are currently reviewing and transforming our web presence. The first phase of the project was to ‘refresh’ the design of the site in September which included a new home page. It cost £13,600 for the design and build of the new pages. The next phase of the project, to be incorporated next year, will be to develop a fully featured website, new publishing system and robust hosting.

We do not have a contract to maintain our site. This work is done in house.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what records his Department keeps on the (a) number and (b) demographics of people using its website. [226111]


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Mr. Douglas Alexander: We currently generate monthly reports on the number of visitors to our site. We do not monitor their demographics.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what forecasts his Department has made regarding the number of people using the Discovery Zone section of its website; and how it plans to monitor the usage of this section. [226112]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: As part of the overall web development project we are testing the site with user groups. We identified a need for more engaging content to serve families and young children. This zone is a first step to meeting their needs. We will continue our user testing with this group to monitor reactions to this part of the site.

From 16 September 2008 (the date Discovery Zone was launched) to 8 October 2008 there have been 1,348 page views from 993 unique users.

Developing Countries: Climate Change

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to address the effects of climate change on developing countries. [224984]

Mr. Michael Foster: Lifting people out of poverty decreases vulnerability to climate change, so all of the UK's poverty reduction work has a role in addressing the effect of climate change. The UK is also working to prevent the most serious potential impacts by pushing for an ambitious new global agreement to tackle climate change and helping developing countries prepare for international negotiations.

Around one third of the UK's £800 million contribution to the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds will support the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience. This will support a number of countries to address the impacts of climate change through their development plans and budgets. The UK is also one of the largest donors, contributing £20 million, to the UN Special Funds which are focused on helping developing countries adapt to climate change.

We are also addressing climate impacts through DFID's country programmes. For example, a new £75 million programme will support Bangladesh's efforts to protect its people further from impacts such as rising sea-levels, water-logged land and increased salinity. DFID is already spending £50 million to help improve the livelihoods of 32,000 families in Bangladesh by raising homes above 1 in 100 year flood level.

Developing Countries: Poverty

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to make the UK public aware of the incidence and consequences of poverty globally. [224985]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department and its Ministers take every opportunity to raise awareness of issues around global poverty. The Department for International Development (DFID) has had an active programme of
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building awareness about global poverty issues and their consequences for over 10 years. This programme includes work with schools and the statutory education sector, youth and community groups, the private sector, trade unions and NGOs—non-governmental organisations —as well as communicating with the wider UK public.

The activities are diverse and far reaching, broadly including information dissemination, the development of programmes to build deeper levels of understanding of the issues, as well as creating opportunities for individuals to become actively engaged in development.

Further information is available on the DFID website:

Developing Countries: Private Sector

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria are used to select consultants engaged by his Department to advise on projects to take overseas public utilities into private ownership. [224818]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides specialist technical assistance to partner Governments using organisations selected for their particular expertise. Technical assistance contracts have been awarded to many different types of organisation active in development, from NGOs to academic institutions to consultancy firms, and the decision on who to contract is made on a case-by-case basis based on technical and commercial evaluation criteria to ensure development impact and value for money.

Developing Countries: Water Supply

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is on the private ownership of water services in other countries. [224815]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) policy is that we respond—where we can—to requests from developing countries for assistance to help improve the efficiency of their water utilities. Usually this involves DFID providing support to public bodies. In some cases, where the developing country government has a policy for participation of the private sector in service delivery, DFID may be asked for support in working out how best this may be done. Often this will take the form of support to improving regulatory frameworks to ensure quality of service and increase access for poor people.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many consultancy contracts his Department has awarded in respect of projects to take overseas water utilities into private ownership; and for which countries. [224824]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Department for International Development (DFID) support to international private sector participation in the water and sanitation sector has been limited. The last independent review indicated that this amounted to no more than 5 per cent. of the total spend in the water and sanitation sector. Countries
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where DFID has supported private sector engagement include Ghana, Tanzania, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Uganda and South Africa.

Details of all centrally-let DFID contracts since January 2005 are available on the DFID website:

Development Banks

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress his Department has made on developing guidance with the multilateral development banks to screen all development investments for climate risks; and if he will make a statement. [225361]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting the Asian Development Bank and the Inter American Development Bank to develop a mechanism for assessing the implications of climate change for their new investments in the Asia and Pacific and Latin America regions. We are also working with the World Bank Group which has developed ADAPT (Assessment and Design for Adaptation to Climate Change: A Planning Tool), for screening its programmes and assessing the threats and opportunities arising from climate variability and change. Its scope is being widened to cover the range of relevant sectors and regions. DFID has also been developing climate risk assessment tools for screening its own programmes and sharing lessons from this process with other donors, including the multilateral development banks (MDBs).

Around one third of the UK’s £800 million contribution to the Climate Investment Funds will support the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). To be implemented by the MDBs, the PPCR will support a number of countries to fully integrate climate resilience into their development plans and budgets. The programme seeks to demonstrate how the MDBs can provide scaled-up support to countries to achieve this integrated approach.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress his Department has made in assisting multilateral development banks to adopt and implement clean energy investment frameworks; and if he will make a statement. [225362]

Mr. Michael Foster: In each of the relevant multilateral development banks, the executive boards have approved clean energy investment frameworks and associated work plans covering implementation. The UK has committed over £15 million to help the banks undertake analytical work on climate change mitigation and adaptation issues, to study the economics of climate change, and to take forward a number of low carbon growth strategies.

In July 2008 at the G8 summit in Hokkaido, the development banks submitted a report outlining what they have done, individually and collectively, to make progress on the climate change agenda. The report describes each of the banks’ overall strategies and gives examples of specific programmes approved. In it, the banks set out an investment programme of public and private resources of over $100 billion between their financial years 2008-10 under the clean energy investment
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framework. This includes scaled-up investment in energy access and low carbon projects. They also committed to scaling up adaptation investments.

DFID Alumni Association

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on the DFID Alumni Association in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) staff costs, (b) website maintenance costs, (c) the cost of organised events and (d) other costs. [226113]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Staff costs to develop, launch and administer the association (in terms of staff salaries) were approximately £5,000 in 2006-07 and £8,000 in 2007-08. The website maintenance costs are the costs of staff time to administer the website, which are included in the aforementioned salary figures. Other costs have been the cost of the launch of the association, which totalled £733.

Guyana: Overseas Aid

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of Guyana's offer to the UK to conserve rainforest in exchange for sustainable development funds; and if he will make a statement. [224622]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government think Guyana's proposal is very interesting and is working with the Guyanese to develop it further. DFID has committed £100,000 towards work to develop a low carbon investment prospectus and implementation plan for Guyana, this will include an assessment of the cost of conserving Guyana's rainforests. In parallel, Guyana has secured funding under the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Fund, to which the UK has contributed £15 million, to prepare a detailed strategy for how they could participate in an international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. Guyana is also included in the Caribbean Regional Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. We will build on the above, as well as on the findings of the Eliasch Review into climate change and the financing of forests, in further discussion.

Overseas Aid

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the transparency of its international aid. [225114]

Mr. Michael Foster: The 2006 International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act commits the Department for International Development (DFID) to report annually to Parliament on the effectiveness of both multilateral and bilateral aid in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. The OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) monitors and publishes DFID's performance against the international targets agreed in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The 2008 monitoring survey shows that, three years ahead of the 2010 deadline, we have met or exceeded seven of the 10 targets, and are very close to meeting another. We are on track to meet
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the remaining two targets by 2010. A recent independent evaluation of the results has been published by the DAC at

Additionally, in September 2008, DFID published the UK Progress Report on Aid Effectiveness, showing that the UK is delivering on its promises to make aid work harder for poor people. This is available on the DFID website

The UK is also working closely with the EU to improve the transparency of aid. At the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF) in September 2008, donors and partner countries committed to make aid more transparent and the UK launched the International Aid Transparency Initiative. This was endorsed by 13 other donors, including the World Bank, UNDP, EC and Germany. It will enable partner Governments and their citizens—those who ultimately benefit from aid—to plan for and make the best use of aid. It will also help citizens hold donors and Governments to account for their promises.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the monitoring of aid given to ensure it is spent as intended. [225115]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides assurance that:

This is a key part of DFID's broader responsibility for ensuring that spending represents value for money.

Recent steps taken to improve monitoring on aid expenditure include:


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