HC Deb 20 April 2004 vol 420 c449W
Paul Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the UK spent on reducing the illegal drugs trade in(a) South Africa, (b) Eastern Europe and (c) Central Asia in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this expenditure on the trade in drugs. [166874]

Mr. Rammell

There are no figures available for total UK spending on UK efforts which contribute towards reducing illegal drug trade in the areas mentioned. Spending by a range of Government Departments on matters such as the alleviation of poverty, law enforcement co-operation and other areas may all directly or indirectly contribute to the reduction in the illegal drugs trade and cannot be calculated precisely. Information is however available in respect of specific funds within the responsibility of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The UK Drugs and Crime Fund (DCF) is administered by the FCO. Its remit is to support project work aimed at reducing the threat to the UK caused by drugs and serious crime overseas. Colombia, Jamaica, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and turkey are currently the highest priority countries for drugs funding from the DCF.

Since financial year 1999–2000, £36,779,926 has been spent world-wide on drug related projects, of which £17,416,886 was spent in Latin America and the Caribbean, £5,593,246 in Eastern Europe and Turkey and £10,072,530 in Central Asia. DCF projects have contributed directly to significant seizures of drugs and helped improve the skills and equipment of law enforcement partners overseas.

The elimination of the threat to the UK from the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan is a top priority for the Government. Some 95 per cent. of the heroin reaching the UK originates in Afghanistan. The Afghan Government has set the objective of eliminating opium cultivation there by 2013 and the UK has committed £70 million over three years to support implementation of this strategy, part of which comes from the DCF but the remainder from other source; of FCO and other Government Department funding

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