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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has received on (a) the effect of the operation of vulture funds on standards of living in the developing world and (b) the extent to which UK businesses participate in such funds. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development has received regular representations from members of the public and non-governmental organisations on the harmful impacts of 'vulture funds'. These representations usually stress that 'vulture funds' divert much-needed resources away from developing countries and exploit debt relief that was provided with the aim of relieving poverty. They also express concern at the use of UK courts to pursue legal claims. A survey by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 2008 reported that 10 businesses based in the UK and UK overseas territories had brought legal action on debts owed by heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC), although creditors may litigate for a variety of reasons.
The UK Government have already taken a range of actions to reduce the extent of the problem of 'vulture funds'. In addition, I am pleased that today my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury has launched a consultation on legislation that would restrict the proportion of past HIPC debts that a creditor could reclaim under UK laws. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are available on the Treasury's website:
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has received on the introduction of a currency transaction levy to raise funds for health initiatives in the least developed countries. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has received representations about the currency transaction levy (CTL) in relation to the work of the High Level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems from NGOs in various meetings at official level. The Taskforce Secretariat, of which the United Kingdom is a member, has received 33 campaign e-mails about CTL to date. It has also received two written submissions about CTL in response to its public consultation exercise. In addition, the Prime Minister has received three letters about the CTL.
The Prime Minister co-chairs the taskforce together with World Bank President Robert Zoellick. The taskforce aims to mobilise additional resources for health systems strengthening in the poorest countries in the world through the use of innovative financing mechanisms. The Taskforce report is available at:
The Department for International Development has contributed £19 million to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva to address refugee issues worldwide including in Afghanistan and Iran.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department intends to take to support the President of the Maldives in the delivery of additional social housing. 
DFID continues to provide support indirectly to the Maldives through its contribution to the European Community (EC). The EC's country strategy in the Maldives focuses on institutional capacity building, support to social sectors and the environment. DFID is also an important stakeholder and funder to international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Their main focus in the Maldives is policy and institutional reform. We have encouraged these institutions to engage constructively with the Maldivian Government.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has allocated to (a) agriculture and (b) food security in each of the last three years in (i) bilateral expenditure, (ii) multilateral contributions and (iii) research; and how much it intends to allocate to each such category in each of the next three years. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The following table sets out the Department for International Development's (DFID) spending on agriculture and food security for the years 2005-06 to 2007-08. Comparable figures are not yet available for 2008-09.
The Prime Minister announced the Government's commitment to spend £1.1 billion on agriculture and food security over the period 2009-10 to 2011-12. Programming of this expenditure is not yet finalised.
|DFID agriculture and food security spending|
1. Excludes emergency humanitarian food aid and basic nutrition
2. Multilateral sectoral share-latest data available 2007-08
3. Agriculture includes livestock
4. RNR research includes agriculture, fisheries and forestry
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission on non-governmental organisations delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza in co-operation with Hamas. 
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has made to the United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Aid Control on the provision of emergency licences to USAID-partner organisations to engage social services and civil society in Gaza. 
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department plans to take in respect of UK-based, aid-giving non-governmental organisations which deliver aid with the co-operation of Hamas. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government expect all partner organisations and agencies to take the utmost care when carrying out their work in Gaza to fulfil their obligations under EU and UK legislation, including in relation to contact with Hamas. We have informed our partners of this position.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £1 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to co-ordinate the relief items brought into Gaza by the UN and non-governmental organisations, to ensure that aid reaches those in most need. WFP's work includes the provision of transport, logistics and co-ordination of advocacy for improved access. This is part of DFID's almost £50 million overall response to the recent fighting in Gaza.
The UK Government continue to press the Israeli Government to allow full, consistent and unhindered access to Gaza for aid and aid workers, as well as to relax restrictions on the types of goods that are allowed to cross the border.
Mr. Thomas: Details of the Department for International Development's (DFID) bilateral expenditure were published in DFID's Annual Report 2009 which is available from the Commons Library or online at:
In financial year 2008-09 the only DFID bilateral aid to Senegal was delivered by not-for-profit organisations through the Civil Society Challenge Fund and amounted to £163,000. Data on DFID's share of multilateral aid to Senegal for 2008-09 are not yet available, but in 2007-08 it is estimated that £9.2 million of DFID's core contributions to multilateral organisations went to Senegal.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict in that country; and what steps his Department is taking to support internallydisplaced Tamils. 
Mr. Michael Foster: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made on 14 July 2009, Official Report , columns 12-13WS. This sets out our assessment of the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka and our efforts to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to meet its pledge of returning internally displaced persons to their homes as soon as possible.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he plans to answer Question 280485, tabled on 12 June 2009, on payments to contractors; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2009, Official Report, column 1413W, on terrorism: finance, what criteria the British Council is using to allocate funding to each (a) country and (b) project; and how it plans to assess the effectiveness of such expenditure. 
Chris Bryant: The spending profile of the £6 million allocated to the British Council's Reconnect initiative to tackle radicalisation and promote understanding overseas will be £1 million, £2 million and £3 million from 2008-09 to 2010-11 respectively. There is no ring-fenced allocation for each country. Allocations depend on the quality of project proposals submitted for funding, measured by anticipated impact, and the priority accorded to that country. The British Council has a rolling professional evaluation process in place for all its programmes.
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