HC Deb 02 March 1960 vol 618 cc1221-3
Mr. Edelman (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what aid the Government is giving to victims of the Moroccan earthquake disaster.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. John Profumo)

Her Majesty's Government have heard with profound regret of the damage to life and property which has been suffered by the people of Agadir in this terrible earthquake disaster. To assist in relief we are offering the sum of £10,000.

area should be included in those areas listed under the Local Employment Bill?

Mr. Heath

My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has the fundamental figures which appear in this list which I am publishing for the information of the hon. Gentleman. As to the explanation of his action, my right hon. Friend answered a Question from the hon. Gentleman on 18th February.

Mr. Randall

That does not answer the first part of my supplementary question. Do the figures show that there has been substantial and heavy unemployment among men during the period covered by the Question?

Mr. Heath

The figures are those for which the hon. Gentleman asked, which are those for 9th February, 1959, and 15th February, 1960. There is a difference of 0.1 per cent. between those figures, but they are not the average over the whole year, because the hon. Gentleman did not ask for them.

Following is the table:

Parliament will be asked in due course to vote the money by means of a Supplementary Estimate to the Foreign Office Grants and Services Vote. In the meantime, an advance is being obtained from the Civil Contingencies Fund. It is for discussion with the Moroccan authorities whether this contribution shall be in cash or kind.

Units of the Royal Air Force are standing by in Gibraltar with relief supplies and will leave as soon as the Moroccan authorities are ready to receive them. A minesweeper, Her Majesty's ship "Darleston", will arrive in Agadir within the next 24 hours and will be followed as soon as possible by Her Majesty's ship "Tyne". This ship, of 11,000 tons, has extensive facilities for the treatment of the injured.

Last night, my right hon. and learned Friend sent the following message to the Moroccan Government: I am most distressed to hear of the disaster which has befallen the town of Agadir. I would like Your Excellency to know that I and my colleagues in Her Majesty's Government, and the people of the United Kingdom, feel the deepest sympathy for the Government and people of Morocco and share in your sorrow for the victims of this disaster.

I am sure that the whole House will wish to be associated with this message.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Edelman

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government's prompt and active help will be welcomed by all those who have been shocked by this catastrophe and are anxious that sympathy should find practical assent?

Mr. Profumo

indicated assent.