§ Q2. Mr. Dalyell
asked the Prime Minister whether, in his talks with General de Gaulle, he raised the possibility of co-ordinated aid from France and the United Kingdom to developing countries, produced from under-utilised resources from areas such as North-East England, Merseyside, Scotland, and South-West France.
§ Q3. Mr. Morris
asked the Prime Minister whether, in his talks with General de Gaulle, he discussed aid to developing countries, in particular goods which are produced from under-utilised resources in areas such as parts of Wales, North-East England, Merseyside, Scotland, and Brittany.
§ Q4. Mr. Reynolds
asked the Prime Minister whether, in his talks with General de Gaulle, he raised the possibility of co-ordinated aid from France and Great Britain to developing countries; and whether, in the light of the need to arrest housing congestion in conurbations such as London and Paris, such aid could be found from under-utilised resources in areas such as Merseyside, Northern Ireland, Tees-side, Scotland and South-West France.
§ Q7. Dr. Bray
asked the Prime Minister whether, during his visit to General de Gaulle, he discussed the proposals, made in the European Economic Community Commission memorandum, "The Action Programme for the Second Stage", for planning aid to underdeveloped countries, particularly in view of the underemployment of capital goods industries in this and other European countries.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
I have been asked to reply.
I would refer hon. Members to the communiqué in Paris and in London after my right hon. Friend's talks with General de Gaulle.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House when the Government propose to take seriously their promise of aid from under-utilised resources from these areas in Britain to developing countries?
§ Mr. Butler
Yes, Sir. An instance of our seriousness was given in the speech of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night—[Interruption.]—when he referred to this matter in some detail, and referred to the possible sum of £10 million as a possible additional aid to industries that have spare capacity. I think that my right hon. Friend very rightly said that it might well give hope to industries with spare capacity.
§ Dr. Bray
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that sum of £10 million represents only about four months' employment of the surplus capacity in the steel and engineering industries on Tees-side alone and that it is derisory in relation to both the needs of under-developed countries and the capacities of the capital goods industry of this country?
§ Mr. Butler
It is not at all derisory and, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, we must see what countries are willing to accept these goods and what goods there are in surplus capacity and then we must make a start with the sum of money suggested.
§ Mr. Morris
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there are underdeveloped resources in this country and that there is continued and rising unemployment with which the Government seem unable to cope? Surely the Common Market countries are to be outward-looking as opposed to being a rich men's club, and should not top priority be given to discussions of this nature?
§ Mr. Butler
Hitherto the questions have related to developing countries overseas, but there is machinery for consultation about aid policy in Europe. In particular this is done through the 1081 Development Assistance Committee of O.E.C.D. of which we and France are members. That would be the machinery through which this would be considered.
§ Mr. Reynolds
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while he says that this was referred to in some detail by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the details take up only about half a column of HANSARD and that all that the Chancellor said was that we were looking at the possibilities? Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give us a little more detail than that? What effort is being made at present by the Departments to find out exactly what surplus capacity there is, and what instructions have been sent to embassies or other organisations overseas to see what aid is required? We want more than just looking at the possibilities.
§ Mr. Butler
This was referred to in a short paragraph by my right hon. Friend, but nevertheless it is very important and I will undertake to discuss with my right hon. Friend the further pursuit of this matter.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind and convey to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that unrequited exports on an unlimited scale, which is what the Opposition are asking for, make no contribution whatsoever to a prosperous and soundly based economy in Britain?
§ Mr. Butler
We have always to watch unrequited exports, but at the same time I think that there is great value in the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend.