HC Deb 20 July 1955 vol 544 cc355-6
11. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the slowing-down of work carried out in the underdeveloped territories by the Technical Assistance Board in 1954; and whether he will seek to prevent a recurrence of this decline by agreeing to guarantee contributions over a period of years.

Lord John Hope

By 30th June, 1954, only one-third of the total contributions pledged for that calendar year had been collected. Almost one-half was still outstanding at the beginning of the last quarter. The contributions of the United Kingdom have always been paid promptly, and we are in no way responsible for this regrettable situation. The continuing support of the United Kingdom for this important programme has never been in doubt. Nevertheless, in the hope that other Governments will follow their example, Her Majesty's Government guarantee that they will, subject to the annual approval of Parliament, continue to make contributions for the next three years. The amount for each year will, as usual, be announced at the annual Pledging Conference in the autumn. A substantial part of each year's contribution will continue to be paid on 1st of January, and we hope that this example also will be followed.

Mr. Blenkinsop

May I welcome this decision by the Government which has, I am sure, been pressed from all sides for some time, and may I also express the hope that the Government will press other Governments on suitable occasions to follow this example which can be of very great value in securing more economic use of the funds available?

Lord John Hope indicated assent.