§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what official development assistance was provided by the United Kingdom in 1997 as a percentage of gross national product; and how this compares with the performance of other members of OECD's Development Assistance Committee. 
§ Clare Short
Precise figures are still to be calculated but the UK's expenditure on official development assistance in 1997 is estimated to have been £2,058 million, representing 0.26 per cent. of GNP. This is slightly lower than the 1996 figure of 0.27 per cent. The UK was the fifth largest bilateral aid donor in 1997 in volume terms. The average for all OECD DAC Member Countries in 1997 was 0.22 per cent. of GNP, its lowest ever level. The average for the European Union was 0.33 per cent. of GNP. These figures exclude financial flows to countries in transition in central and eastern Europe and more advanced developing countries as defined in the Development Assistance Committee list of aid recipients.288W
There is a clear need for more investment in developing countries to tackle poverty and social exclusion. This government are committed to playing their part, including by reversing the decline in UK development assistance as we promised in the manifesto.