HC Deb 21 December 1967 vol 756 cc1460-1
14. Mr. James Davidson

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will give practical support to the proposals in the field of overseas development made by the President of the World Bank in a speech on 27th October, 1967, to the Swedish Bankers Association, a copy of which has been sent to him.

Mr. Prentice

Consultations with other donors continue. If they are favourable to this proposal, Her Majesty's Government would give it any practical support they could.

Mr. Davidson

While I thank the Minister for that Answer, but in view of the continued need for overseas aid as a long-term investment and this country's reduced resources, will the Ministry have a close look at some of Dr. Schumacher's plans for intermediate technology.

Mr. Prentice

Yes. We are closely in touch with that group and we are studying its work. We have a number of contacts with it.

Mr. Judd

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that the advantage of schemes such as the World Bank and I.D.A. is that we do very well in terms of our exports out of multilateral programmes of this kind?

Mr. Prentice

Yes. Of the total operations of I.D.A., it is true to say that we get approximately 30s. worth of orders for every £ we put into it. This is an example of the fact that the aid programme is generally a good investment for Britain in the long term as well as being right on moral grounds.

Mr. Braine

Is the Minister aware that the impression gained at the recent Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at Kampala was that recipient countries would welcome a grand assize of this kind? Can we take it that the Government are very much in favour of this kind of approach to a major world problem?

Mr. Prentice

Yes, we are in favour of it. We are discussing the matter at the moment with other countries. Clearly it will depend on some wide international agreement if it is to be set up in the way proposed by Mr. Woods.