HC Deb 02 February 1967 vol 740 cc748-9
9. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why he has refused to help the Government of Malawi with their proposal to establish their capital at Lilongwe.

Mr. Bottomley

The British Government believe that in the deployment of British aid priority needs to be given at this stage to the most productive development which will help to reduce Malawi's present dependence on Britain for budgetary aid.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government of Malawi, which has a most responsible record, as he would agree, in financial matters, has attached a high priority to having the capital of the country near the centre of the country, so as to be able to encourage and stimulate development? Will he think about this again?

Mr. Bottomley

I accept what has been said about the President and the Executive of that country, but we agreed with the British Economic Mission's recommendation, after it had been to that country, that the building of the capital should be deferred. At the moment, the British Government meet between one-quarter and one-third of Malawi's total budgetary aid expenditure. We believe that the emphasis should be, first, on the kind of development which will relieve that kind of pressure.

Mr. James Johnson

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the mathematical dead centre is not always the best nodal point for any country's capital?