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House of Commons Hansard
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16 November 2016
Volume 617
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T1. If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. [907188]

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No country can defeat poverty without sustained economic growth. Later today, the Government will introduce the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill, which will raise the limit on the level of financial support that the Government can provide to the CDC. By doing so, we will be able to help to create more jobs and to boost economic growth in Africa and south Asia, so that people can lift themselves out of poverty and leave aid dependency behind. I will write to colleagues with further information.

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Will my right hon. Friend outline what humanitarian relief the Government are providing to support those affected by the conflict in Yemen?

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My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the appalling scenarios we are seeing in Yemen right now. There is a deteriorating situation and a humanitarian crisis, with an increasing number of Yemenis facing food shortages and suffering malnutrition. There has been a recent outbreak of cholera as well. The UK is the fourth largest donor, and has committed to spending £109 million in Yemen, helping more than 1.3 million Yemenis—[Interruption.]

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Order. There are far too many very noisy private conversations taking place while we are discussing the fate of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. The message is quite clear: hush or, alternatively, leave the Chamber.

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Last year, we helped more than 1.3 million Yemenis to get access to food, medical supplies and water. My hon. Friend will know that we have recently helped to raise over £100 million, via the UN, to strengthen humanitarian support for people in Yemen.

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T3. Does the Secretary of State understand the frustrations felt by DFID’s partners in civil society organisations and in the wider world about the continued delay in the publication of the bilateral and multilateral aid reviews? When will they be published, and will there be a statement or a chance to debate the proposals in this place? [907190]

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I have recently spent much time with civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and the great organisations doing life-saving work on the ground. We have recently published the “DFID Research Review” and the “Civil Society Partnership Review”. With regards to the development aid reviews—the multilateral and bilateral aid reviews—I can tell the hon. Gentleman that they will be coming by the end of the month.

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T2. I welcome the work the Secretary of State is doing to ensure that UK aid to the Palestinian Authority does not directly fund payments to terrorist prisoners, but will she assure the House that she is doing everything possible to ensure that the aid does not indirectly fund such payments by freeing up resources that would otherwise be spent on day-to-day PA activities? [907189]

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We have made it clear that our focus will be very much targeted on health, education and co-existence projects. We ensure that any support going in is carefully vetted, with an independent auditor, and directed to what will provide value for money; and, above all, that it will benefit the Palestinian people.

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T4. Will the Secretary of State agree to put people before profit, following the publication of her Department’s “Civil Society Partnership Review”, and therefore ensure that any private sector involvement in the provision of UK development aid is driven by operational necessity, not the pursuit of profit? [907192]

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As I have mentioned, we have published the “Civil Society Partnership Review”, on which I spent time speaking to many of the great organisations involved in the delivery of aid and humanitarian work around the world. We make sure that British aid—UK taxpayers’ money—goes to the right causes via the right organisations, and DFID will continue to pursue that. We are championing taxpayer value, while delivering poverty reduction and humanitarian support and assistance.

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T7. The scenes of the war crimes committed by Daesh in the Assyrian capital of Nimrud are, on top of their human carnage, truly depressing and a wake-up call to the world that we need to work together to protect the world’s cultural heritage. Will the Secretary of State commit to continuing to play our part within UNESCO, notwithstanding the reservations she may have about the organisation’s finances? [907195]

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My hon. Friend raises an important point about the destruction of cultural and heritage sites around the world. I have been clear that, in funding international organisations, we wish to see reform in the system to make sure that money is spent in the right way. We will continue to deliver value for money. DFID will publish the reviews that reflect on UNESCO towards the end of the month and he will see the approach we are taking.

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T5. Further to an earlier question, will the Minister commit to fast-track the review of aid for the families of Palestinian prisoners, in the knowledge that any reduction in that aid will bankrupt the Palestinian Authority, undermine politicians who are working for a peaceful solution and play into the hands of those, like Hamas, who want to pursue a course of violence? [907193]

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The Department remains entirely committed to the following principles. First, anything we do must encourage a two-state solution by ensuring that the Palestinian people are served with proper services. Secondly, we must make sure that the money goes in the right way to the right people. That is all about auditing, vetting and making sure that the real beneficiaries are there. Of course we will ensure that the review is done as efficiently as possible to serve the interests of the Palestinian people and the stability of the region.