HC Deb 16 January 1964 vol 687 cc408-9
Q7. Mr. Oram

asked the Prime Minister what consideration he is giving to the diffusion of responsibility for aid to developing countries among several Ministries, including the Treasury, the Department of Technical Co-operation, the Board of Trade, the Colonial Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Foreign Office, and to the consequent dilution of the effectiveness of such aid and the lack of Parliamentary discussion of this question; and what action he proposes to take to concentrate responsibility for these matters.

The Prime Minister

There are full arrangements for the co-ordination of policy on aid to developing countries, and I am not satisfied that any further concentration of responsibility is at present desirable or practicable.

Mr. Oram

Donot recent troubles in several newly-independent countries in various parts of the world underline the necessity for economic stability as an aid towards political stability? In view of this, is it not very important that this country's aid should be at a considerably higher level than it is at present and that it should be better expended and directed through a single powerful Ministry responsible for these matters?

The Prime Minister

The level of aid is, I think, a matter which is not particularly dealt with in this Question. The Question really relates to Government machinery. On this, I am willing to keep an open mind, but when I have looked at this matter in the past it has been very difficult, because it is so mixed up with general policy, to take it away from the Foreign Office and the C.R.O.