HC Deb 08 November 2001 vol 374 c358
9. Mr. Harold Best (Leeds, North-West)

What estimate he has made of the value of funds held by suspected terrorist organisations in UK financial institutions. [11334]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gordon Brown)

The UK has currently frozen 38 bank accounts containing more than £70 million or $100 million of assets. We continue to examine the lists provided by other countries.

Mr. Best

Will my right hon. Friend consider taking control of funds apparently amassed for terrorist activity and using them for another purpose—for example, providing aid and assistance to the victims of terrorism around the world?

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend makes a point about what happens when funds are frozen. When frozen, such funds do not automatically become the possession of the United Kingdom Government, otherwise there would be many representations for the use of such funds.

As regards our international development responsibilities, which is what concerns my hon. Friend, we have not only increased our overseas development budget by 45 per cent., but put in an extra £60 million for Pakistan and Afghanistan. We stand ready to meet further international obligations in relation to refugees and the population in Afghanistan, and we will make further proposals for the Finance for Development conference that will take place in Monterrey in Latin America next year.

We stand ready to work with all other countries to increase the international development assistance that is available so that we can eliminate poverty around the world, meet our international development targets on education and health and achieve satisfactory debt relief.

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby)

While pursuing the funds of the murderous terrorist organisation that attacked the tallest buildings in New York, will the Chancellor pursue the funds of the murderous terrorist organisation that attacked the two tallest buildings in London—Canary wharf in 1996 and the NatWest tower, or tower 42, in 1993? That organisation is called Sinn Fein and it is inextricably linked to the IRA.

Mr. Brown

The list of named terrorist organisations includes the Real IRA, and we are taking action in relation to it.

Forward to