HC Deb 12 November 1952 vol 507 cc929-30
17. Mr. Edward Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what has been the rate of our contribution to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in the last two years; how this compares with donations from other countries; and if he will consider increasing the contribution.

Mr. Nutting

In the last two years contributions from Her Majesty's Government have been at the rate of £50,000 a year. Including our share of the residual assets of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration made over to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund and contributions from private sources, our total contribution to the end of August, 1952, was equivalent to 8,881,000 dollars, making the United Kingdom the fourth largest contributor.

I regret that, in view of the present financial stringency, Her Majesty's Government cannot contemplate increasing their own contribution.

Mr. Davies

Despite the somewhat generous terms of 8 million dollars to which the Under-Secretary has referred, have not our current contributions fallen short of those from smaller countries, and is it not a fact that £50,000 works out at a penny per head of the population for dealing with these dreadful diseases in Asia and elsewhere? Is it not the case that in Iceland it works out at four and a half dollars per head of the population? In those circumstances, cannot we do better?

Mr. Nutting

The hon. Gentleman can draw what conclusion he likes from the figures I have given to him, but he may be interested to know that in total contributions to all the specialised agencies of the United Nations who are attempting to fight these dangers and diseases to which he has referred, this country takes second place only to the United States of America, and our contribution is even higher than the United States in terms per head of the population.

Mr. Younger

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this is one of the relatively few international organisations which cannot be charged with extravagance, and that in fact it has been doing an exceedingly good job at a very low cost? Will he keep that in mind when considering the allocation of Her Majesty's Government's contribution to the many different international organisations?

Mr. Nutting

I am happy to confirm what the right hon. Gentleman says about this organisation. I shall certainly bear in mind the point he has raised.