HC Deb 23 February 1965 vol 707 cc203-5
1. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what progress she has made in the recruitment of the 30 economists needed for the proposed expansion of her Department's activities; and if she will make a statement.

19. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she is satisfied that the recruitment of economists and statisticians to the staff of her Ministry is designed to ensure that the best possible use is made of British aid to the developing countries; and if she will make a statement.

25. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is her estimated requirement of economists in her Department; and what steps she is taking to secure them.

37. Mr. Park

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how many economists she estimates will be needed for the necessary expansion of her Department's activities; and what progress has been made in their recruitment.

40. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what progress she has made in recruitment of economists for expansion of her staff; and whether she proposes to have economists who will assist underdeveloped Commonwealth countries in drawing up their development plans and in formulating aid projects.

The Minister of Overseas Development (Mrs. Barbara Castle)

Recruitment of economists and statisticians to my staff should certainly assist in ensuring that the best use is made of British aid to developing countries. We shall also be better able to meet requests from overseas countries to advise on development plans and projects. One part-time and four full-time economists have so far been recruited and arrangements to recruit a further 10 economists are proceeding. All will have had considerable experience of development work though it is proposed to recruit some less experienced people as well for training.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Can the right hon. Lady say whether she plans to make use of these economists by sending them abroad to study conditions in the field and to initiate surveys? Would she not agree that they would be largely wasted if they were left at home in the Ministry?

Mrs. Castle

I would not agree with the last part of that supplementary question. We have found that there is a great deal to be done inside the Ministry in evaluating development plans put to us by different countries, and in many other aspects of our work. It may be that from time to time they will go into the field to give advice on the spot.

Mr. Dalyell

Will my right hon. Friend name the four full-time and the one part-time economists?

Mrs. Castle

Yes, Sir. Part of the answer was given in reply to a Question asked by the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher). Three of the gentlemen are the Director General of Economic Planning, Mr. Dudley Seers, his Deputy, Mr. Paul Streeten and the head of the World Economy Division, Mr. Robin Marris. Mr. R. S. Porter is to be head of the Geographical Division, and Miss P. Adie is doing part-time research work.

Mr. Chapman

Would my right hon. Friend accept the congratulations of many of us on this side of the House that she has made this wonderful beginning on this job? In view of the importance in small areas of the Commonwealth, like the West Indies, of the actual job of drawing up development plans which will attract trade from both this country and international agencies, would my right hon. Friend make it clear that she hopes eventually to send some of these economists out there to help them draw up their plans?

Mrs. Castle

I can certainly give the assurance for which my hon. Friend asks. I hope in due course to strengthen our overseas representation in the field for that purpose as well.

Mr. Fisher

As these are additional economists, from outside the Civil Service, and as I understand from her Answer that some more have been added since my Question to which the right hon. Lady referred, may I ask whether she can tell the House the additional cost of these gentlemen's salaries to the taxpayer over arid above the normal Civil Service costs?

Mrs. Castle

Details of the salaries of those already appointed were given in the Answer on 9th February. It is impossible for me to give to the hon. Gentleman the total, for the reason that the salaries of the remainder will obviously vary with their qualifications and experience.

Mr. R. Carr

On an organisational point, will all these economists be integrated within the geographical department within the right hon. Lady's Ministry, or will they have a separate functional set-up of their own?

Mrs. Castle

It is proposed that the planning units shall have three divisions. In the Geographical Division the economists concerned will work with the operational staff of the Ministry in drawing up plans for different areas of the world and the countries within them. There will also be a World Economy Division and a Statistical Division which w ill be an amplification of the one which existed under the old Department of Technical Co-operation.