Topical debates — Kenya

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 2:33 pm, 17th January 2008

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman was worried that I was pressing him too much about his experience. However, it is right that we should move on because the debate is serious. Hon. Members have rightly asked a wide range of questions and I want to try to respond to as many as I can.

As my hon. Friend Hugh Bayley said, the Department for International Development does not give direct budget support to the Government of Kenya. We will not give them direct budget support unless credible progress is made on tackling corruption. Clearly, we will not abandon people in need. Corruption hits the poorest people hardest and undermines development.

Let me briefly set out our general aid programme and what we are doing in the current circumstances. In 2007-08, the Department for International Development provided £50 million in aid. The UK's aid programme is directed at health, education and social protection. Any suspension of it would inevitably have a direct negative impact on the poorest people, but we are keeping matters under review. On 3 January, the Secretary of State for International Development announced the provision of £1 million to Kenya Red Cross to meet the humanitarian needs of up to 500,000 people who are affected by the problems in the Rift Valley area. The Department for International Development Kenya submitted an application for an additional £1 million on 15 January.

Business as usual is not possible until progress is made on dialogue and reconciliation, and the Department for International Development has temporarily suspended all aid payments to the Kenyan Government. We signed a public statement on 15 January as part of a broader donor co-ordination group to maintain pressure on the Kenyan Government for compromise and resolution.