HC Deb 08 February 1966 vol 724 cc180-1
7. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Overseas Development to what extent in the last 12 months credits have been provided for developing Commonwealth countries, such credits to be spent on surplus capacity in the United Kingdom; and how much of such credits has been spent in the development districts in Scotland and England and Wales, respectively.

Mr. Greenwood

We try to take account of the possibility of employing unused industrial capacity when considering requests for aid, but it has not been found practicable specifically to relate credits to surplus capacity and it is not possible to relate expenditure directly to particular development districts. I will, however, gladly consider any suggestions my hon. Friend wishes to make.

Mr. Hamilton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the suggestion came from the party itself, in its election manifesto? What steps are the Government taking to implement this policy, in view of the fact that it would help development districts in this country as well as the developing Commonwealth countries with which we are so deeply concerned?

Mr. Greenwood

I appreciate that this is a point to which we were committed, and also a point on which right hon. Members opposite conducted an experiment a few years ago. We try to take these considerations into account, but it is not always easy to match up the needs of individual countries with the surplus capacity that is available.