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Remittances Task Force

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) financial and (b) other support his Department is providing to the Remittances Task Force in 2008-09; and what assessment he has made of the economic effect of remittances from the UK on developing countries. (220541)

The UK Remittances Task Force was set up in 2006, with support from the Department for International Development (DFID), to pursue the Key Findings and Recommendations of the UK Remittances Working Group. Originally set at 12 months, our support to the Task Force has been extended already as a response to the need for further work to fully achieve its objectives. DFID’s financial support to the Task Force is £23,600 from March to December 2008. DFID also provides advice to the Task Force and regularly dialogues with its Steering Committee. We will continue to review this support on an ongoing, needs assessed basis.

Estimates suggest that remittances from the UK are upwards of £2.7 billion, with the largest flows going to Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Jamaica and Ghana. DFID recognises the positive impact that these money transfers can make on people’s lives in developing countries, and has an active agenda to improve the developmental impact of remittances, seeking to help make remittances cheaper, safer and more accessible. When responding to a DFID funded survey in the UK, almost a third of remittance senders said that their money would be used to buy food, a fifth said it would help with medical bills and one in six reported that the funds would help pay for schooling. 80 per cent. of those surveyed said the money would make a real difference to the lives of their relatives back home.