HC Deb 17 December 1963 vol 686 cc1032-3
22. Mr. Prentice

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what contributions will be made by this country during 1964 to the United Nations Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and to the Special Fund; how these contributions compare with those for 1963; and if he will make a statement on the pledging conference at the United Nations which determined the 1964 figures.

Mr. R. Carr

Subject to Parliamentary approval, Her Majesty's Government have pledged contributions for 1964 to these programmes of 6.25 million dollars to the Special Fund and 3.75 million dollars to the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance. These are the same as the pledges made for 1963.

At the recent United Nations pledging conference eighty-seven countries offered 74 million dollars and the United States a further 60 million dollars on the understanding that their contribution would amount to no more than 40 per cent. of the contributions paid.

Mr. Prentice

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is a very disappointing decision, in that the 1963 totals are already behind the programmes set out in accordance with the United Nations Development Decade? If 1964 does not show an expansion, shall we not get further behind? Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that one of his first actions when he took office was to accept on behalf of the Government a resolution on the programme of the United Nations Development Decade? Cannot the Government take the initiative now to secure a bigger expansion next year?

Mr. Carr

We took the initiative last year in increasing our contribution by 25 per cent. We are still the second largest contributor to this fund. If our contribution is calculated as a percentage of the gross national product there are only three countries that give a bigger proportion, and not one of those has a bilateral technical assistance programme comparable with ours. One must look at the whole programme of technical assistance.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Is there not an obligation on the Government to set standards in this matter? Are the Government now abandoning the targets they accepted for the United Nations Development Decade?

Mr. Carr

We are setting standards. We are the leaders. There are only three countries making a contribution which is a bigger proportion of the gross national product and, as I have said, not one of those countries has a technical assistance programme of its own which is comparable with ours.