HC Deb 21 February 1963 vol 672 cc611-2
4. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what proportion of the funds allocated to the Overseas Students' Welfare Expansion programme has now been taken up by approved hostel projects; and what steps he is taking to increase the speed of expansion.

Mr. Tilney

Under projects approved up to the present 1,601 new beds—that is, just under one-third of the target—will be provided at an expenditure of just over one-quarter of the funds. Proposals are now under consideration by the Government and the British Council which it is hoped will accelerate the rate of progress of the scheme.

Mr. Thomson

Is not this a very unsatisfactory and slow rate of progress on an urgent and very important scheme? Could the Minister now assure the House that, in the light of the experience they have had of the slowness, the Government are considering arrangements with a view to taking up quickly the whole of the funds that were allocated?

Mr. Tilney

The hon. Member must bear in mind that voluntary organisations come into this matter and that it is a fairly new scheme, but we are endeavouring to speed it up more in all the details of the arrangements.