Hilary Benn, Britain's international development secretary, will next week tell UK legislators that the sum will constitute Britain's total commitment to the postwar reconstruction effort for the three years through April 2006.

  

The figure includes 200 million pounds already committed. About 300 million pounds of the total is for the next two years. It also includes bilateral funds and Britain's share of proposed European Union spending, the FT said.

  

World Bank and UN forecasts suggest Iraq will need 56 billion dollars over the coming four years for reconstruction, including the rehabilitation of its electricity system, health service, water, transport, telecommunications and education, according to the Financial Times.

 

British officials were optimistic that a formal meeting of donors in Madrid on 23 and 24 October will result in contributions to the reconstruction effort, the FT said.