HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc944-5
Q2. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Prime Minister what has been the cost of Zambian support in all its manifestations, including increased cost of copper, to the United Kingdom since 11th November. 1965; and if he will invite the Zambian Government to contribute 50 per cent. of the cost.

The Prime Minister

About £3½ millions for the airlift and the Royal Air Force Javelin force and a further £3½ millions for the development of alternative supply routes into Zambia.

The price paid for Zambian copper is not part of British aid to Zambia but reflects world supply and demand conditions.

The Answer to the second part of the Question is "No, Sir".

Sir G. Nabarro

Yes, Sir, but is not the position now that the Zambian Government are making a large profit out of British aid by the arbitrary raising of their copper price? Will not the right hon. Gentleman reconsider this?

The Prime Minister

There is no question of making a profit out of British aid. We have an interest in maintaining copper supplies, which is one reason that we have helped with the supply of oil. But the high copper price in the world today is the result of a general world shortage. aggravated by very prolonged strikes, first in Australia, then in Chile and then in Zambia. It is nothing at all to do with the Rhodesians.

Mr. O'Malley

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that one result of the Rhodesian companies' new copper policy is that the three months' free market price of copper has dropped by nearly £150 in the last few days?

The Prime Minister

I think that my hon. Friend meant the Zambian companies and not the Rhodesian companies. There has always been the problem of whether to keep the low and reasonably stable price or to follow the market price through the L.M.E. Certainly, the immediate effect of last weekend's price decisions has had the effect which my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will not the Zambian Government be very grateful to Her Majesty's Government if they succeed in reaching an amicable solution with the Government in Salisbury?

The Prime Minister

I should have thought that everyone will be pleased if a solution is reached which gives full effect to the principles laid down in this House and which most hon. Members would insist on as being reasonable.