HC Deb 23 February 1965 vol 707 cc218-9
23. Mr. Longbottom

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she will consider setting up an Overseas Development Service to assist in satisfying the demands for technical assistance made to her Department.

Mr. Oram

I am engaged in a thoroughgoing review of our recruitment for technical assistance overseas. It includes all practicable suggestions for more adequately satisfying the increasing demands made upon us.

Mr. Longbottom

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us when we can expect the results of this review? Is he aware that all technical assistance is now so specialised that we must try to attract to the service people who will devote a lifetime to work in the service of developing countries, because this is of maximum benefit? What can we expect to hear further about this?

Mr. Oram

I entirely accept what the hon. Gentleman says about the importance of this work. However, because of the complexity of the review, it is not possible to give a date on which it can be expected to be concluded.

Mr. Francis Noel-Baker

Can my hon. Friend say how easy or difficult he is finding it to fill these posts with suitable people? Is his Ministry now considering opening offices similar to the Middle East Development Commission in other parts of the world, notably Africa and South America?

Mr. Oram

It is not easy to give an overall answer, because it is easier in certain professions than in others. For instance, we are experiencing great difficulty with the medical profession. I have nothing to say at the moment about my hon. Friend's second question.

Mr. Longden

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not exclude from his review the needs of the countries of Latin America.

Mr. Oram

The review I mention was about recruitment, not the needs of overseas countries. We are separately making a review of the action needed in that respect and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that Latin America is not outside our consideration.