HC Deb 04 November 1954 vol 532 cc571-2
6. Mr. Bence

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contribution, in sterling, was made available to under-developed countries in 1953 and 1954; and what is his estimate of the sum to be provided for 1955.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

Figures are not available in calendar years. In the financial years 1952–53 and 1953–54, £150 million and £165 million, respectively, were made available to under-developed countries and to international organisations working in under-developed countries. The United Kingdom has so far committed itself to make available £169 million in 1954–55. These figures include Governmental finance by way of grant or loan, sterling releases of blocked balances to Colombo Plan countries, and Governmental loans raised on the London market; but they exclude other capital transfers between private persons, or institutions.

Mr. Bence

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Sir Alec Randall stated in the United Nations Economic Committee that we just cannot visualise having sufficient capital resources available, nor can we foresee how they may become available, short of a substantial degree of world-wide disarmament? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that we should, therefore, give first priority to arranging a world conference with the object of getting some disarmament in view of the importance of world-wide development?

Mr. Maudling

I agree that the less that is spent on arms the more can be spent on other things. That is a lesson which should be learnt in other countries besides this one.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will the hon. Gentleman consider particularly the level of the grants to the United Nations special funds in view of the many urgent projects, particularly in regard to world health, which are having to be postponed for lack of finance, for which there is very little provision at the moment?

Mr. Maudling

We consider all the claims as sympathetically as we can, but the hon. Gentleman will realise that the amount being provided by the United Kingdom is increasing and is already a very heavy commitment.

Mr. Alport

Can my hon. Friend say how the figures compare with those for 1949, 1950 and 1951?

Mr. Maudling

I should need notice of that question.