HC Deb 12 March 1963 vol 673 cc1173-5
Q7. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Prime Minister what negotiations he has now had with Governments of developing countries on additional aid from under-utilised resources in north-east England, Merseyside, south-west England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Q8. Dr. Bray

asked the Prime Minister what negotiations have now taken place with Governments of developing countries on additional aid from under-utilised resources in northeast England, Merseyside, and Scotland.

Q9. Mr. Millan

asked the Prime Minister what discussions he has now had with Governments of developing countries on additional aid from under-utilised resources in Scotland and northeast England.

The Prime Minister

Negotiations on additional aid from spare productive capacity are proceeding with a number of Governments. An agreement was signed yesterday with the Government of Ghana for a loan of £2,164,000 odd for the purchase of two cargo ships to be built on the North-East Coast. It would not be right for me to give details of other negotiations while they are still proceeding.

Mr. Dalyell

Can we be assured that the sum of £10 million mentioned in this connection on 18th December by the Deputy Prime Minister in answer to a Question will be completely provided?

The Prime Minister

As the hon. Gentleman will understand, these negotiations are quite complicated, and very often of a technical character, but it is our intention to try to bring them to a successful conclusion.

Dr. Bray

Would not the Prime Minister agree that the unemployment situation and the state of sterling today point to the need for much more vigorous action to increase exports? Would he consider offering considerably larger loans to finance exports on condition that 10 per cent. to 20 per cent. is paid for immediately by the return of overseas holdings of sterling?

The Prime Minister

Action is being taken on a very wide field, and further action will be taken. These loans are by way of aid and are guaranteed by the guarantee procedure. Perhaps any further questions on this might be addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Millan

Even if the Prime Minister cannot give specific details of the negotiations, can he at least give an assurance that some of these negotiations are concerned with work which will benefit industry in Scotland?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. One has been announced and others are under discussion.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend to accept my congratulations.—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Indeed, is my right hon. Friend aware that I always congratulate him when I think he has done well for the North-East Coast?

The Prime Minister

I am very grateful for that, and I shall look forward to a whole series of congratulations.

Sir C. Osborne

Will my right hon. Friend make it clear to the House and to the country that this additional aid to under-developed countries can only come out of our profits and not out of our losses and that we can only send exports to these countries if they are paid for?

The Prime Minister

Broadly speaking, they must be supported by a good balance of payments situation which comes from an excess of exports over imports, including invisible exports. These loans are made under Section 3 of the Export Guarantees Act.