HC Deb 30 June 1953 vol 517 cc195-6
39. Mr. Ian Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made with the scheme for expenditure of the Counterpart of Conditional Aid Funds in accordance with the arrangements recorded in Command Paper No. 8776.

Mr. H. Strauss

I apologise for the length of the answer.

Since the publication of the White Paper, there have been extensive consultations with industrial and research organisations and the Trades Union Congress, educational institutions, and other interests, and considerable progress has been made in formulating detailed proposals under the various heads of the Foreign Secretary's Note of 25th February. The applications received considerably exceed the funds available and a careful selection is being made accordingly.

Consultations have also taken place with the Special Mission to the United Kingdom of the Mutual Security Agency. I hope that it will be possible to announce the final programme soon. A Supplementary Estimate will be presented to Parliament next month in order to give general authority for the operation of conditional aid schemes. Meanwhile, any urgent preliminary expenditure will be met as necessary from the Civil Contingencies Fund.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether it is the Government's intention to give priority to smaller concerns, as has been suggested?

Mr. Strauss

I should not like to enter into further details. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the further statement that I have foreshadowed.