I know the hon. Gentleman takes a close interest in the terrible suffering caused by tuberculosis around the world. I am happy to confirm that the Government welcome the Stop TB Partnership’s revised global plan, which sets out a clear road map to achieve ambitious targets, including to halve TB deaths by 2015. This will require making progress on the underlying causes.
I thank the Minister for his response. As I am sure he knows, TB needlessly kills 1.7 million people a year, yet no new treatments or vaccines have been developed for 30 years. What are the Government doing to ensure that the UK plays its part in eradicating this disease by funding TB control measures and supporting the development of new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines?
The UK is committed to reducing unnecessary deaths and suffering from TB. My Department is currently reviewing its aid programme to determine how to achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards achieving all the millennium development goals. We will certainly review the forward approach to TB, including research, once we have the findings from the bilateral and multilateral aid reviews. As of 2009-10, we estimate that about £55 million was spent on direct programmes, and health system strengthening also needs to be taken into account.
The hon. Gentleman is quite right to identify the fact that TB ravages countries, not least in conflict states. As we design programmes that will have an effect in conflict states, it is vital that TB is right there among the very top of interventions. As we go through our bilateral aid review and focus on hard-to-reach people in conflict states such as Somalia, we must ensure that TB is one of the pre-eminent issues to be tackled. [Interruption.]