§ 13. Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why the Blackburn Young Men's Christian Association has not yet received the £10,000 grant awarded to it under the Government's Overseas Students Welfare Expansion Programme.
§ Mr. Braine
I understand that the hon. Lady has received full information about this case from my noble friend.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the hon. Member aware that I have received no satisfaction at all in this matter from his noble Friend? Is he aware that proposals were put forward by the Y.M.C.A. National Council as long ago as last October which would have enabled this grant to be paid, but that no grant has yet been made? Is he also aware that the Y.M.C.A. in Blackburn has had to incur bank facilities for an overdraft of up to £20,000 to launch this scheme and has promised to pay back £10,000 by the end of this month, and that it is running up very heavy bank charges and that the whole scheme is in grave difficulties owing to the Government's failure to proceed?
§ Mr. Braine
The terms of the original offer were that the grant was intended to finance the last £10,000 of the project and at the appropriate time it would be paid over to meet progress payments on the contract. I understand that the first of these payments became due in mid-January. There is a temporary difficulty arising out of the fact that where public money is disbursed proper accounting procedures must be followed. Precisely because of the very proper concern which the hon. Lady has shown, I would like to suggest that if she could find the time to come and see me I shall be pleased to discuss these matters with her.