HC Deb 14 January 1964 vol 687 cc9-10
10. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation why the estimate of expenditure of £200,000 in 1962–63 on the low-priced books scheme and a statement of estimated expenditure and commitments of £150,000 for the same period, which he gave the House on 12th April, 1962, were in excess of the actual expenditure of £107,000 for that financial year.

Mr. R. Carr

The £150,000 quoted on 12th April, 1962, referred to total expenditure since the inception of the scheme in 1960. The estimate of £200,000 for 1962–63 was prepared in the expectation that many more book titles would be approved in that year than eventually were. The process of selection and approval includes consultation with the publishers and with interested bodies overseas, such as the Indian University Grants Commission Her Majesty's Government are fully aware of the desirability of including more books, but the process is not of course wholly within their control.

Mr. Thomson

Is not this a disturbing situation? May I ask the Minister whether he is aware that two years ago the House of Commons voted £200,000 for this purpose for one year, and that in fact Her Majesty's Government's efforts over two years are not going to succeed in reaching even that one year's total? Cannot the Minister do some—- thing to make sure that the money voted by the House of Commons is used for the purposes for which it is voted?

Mr. Carr

I assure the House that we are trying to do just that, and final approval is expected to be given shortly to a large number of selected titles. As I said, this process of approval is not entirely within our hands, nor entirely within the control of this country.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Does this scheme apply to all developing members of the Commonwealth, or only to some of them?

Mr. Carr

In the first place it applied to the Indian sub-continent, and last summer I was able to announce that it was to be extended to West Africa. Further extensions are kept in mind and are under consideration.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

May I ask the Minister whether he is aware that in spite of this short-fall in expenditure under the estimate there is still a large unsatisfied demand for law text-books both by students and practitioners in West Africa.? Cannot the Minister do something about that?

Mr. Carr

We must bear in mind that under the scheme 120 titles have been published and more than 1 million books have been sold. It has made a considerable impact and we are anxious for the impact to increase as rapidly as possible.

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