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Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the impact of investigations into the local housing budget locally on budgetary aid to the Government of Montserrat. (109451)

A review took place in 2004 of the DFID-funded Self-Build Materials Grant project, designed to help people to construct their own houses in Montserrat in the aftermath of the volcano crisis. The review concluded that, whilst the project appeared to have benefited those people who received support, it was poorly managed locally and inadequately monitored by DFID.

DFID and the Government of Montserrat (GoM) agreed an action plan in early 2005, comprising a series of measures to avoid similar problems arising in future projects. An internal DFID review in early 2006 concluded that satisfactory progress was being made against the plan.

The investigations into the Materials Grant project have had no direct impact on the provision of budgetary aid to Montserrat. We are however helping to strengthen financial management systems across GoM. DFID reviewed development assistance for housing projects on the island at the end of 2005, and agreed to provide £1.9 million (EC$9 million) over a three year period to support the provision of housing for the mentally challenged, other vulnerable groups and low-income households at the Lookout housing estate, with the appointment of a housing adviser to help GoM to implement its new housing strategy.