To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's reasons are for the proportional increase in social infrastructure and services investment and the corresponding proportional decrease in economic infrastructure and services investment since 1997.
Mr. Gareth Thomas:
The goal of the Department for International Development (DFID) is to eliminate poverty. DFID seeks to do this by focusing on achieving the targets agreed at the Millennium Summit, the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). DFID works with developing country Governments and other donors to achieve these goals.
Around a third of DFID's total expenditure is allocated to specific sectors. In recent years, expenditure on social infrastructure and services (by which we usually mean education, health, population and reproductive health, water supply and sanitation, government and civil society, employment and housing) has been significantly higher than that on economic infrastructure and services (for example, transport and storage, communications, energy, banking and financial services, and business). In large part, this is because DFID believes that investment in these sectors will have a greater impact on achieving the MDGs. In 2002, the latest year for which these data are available, there was a large jump in expenditure for the first group, which was not matched for scale in the second one. This was mainly due to a number of large contributions to global health funds.