HC Deb 02 February 1967 vol 740 cc742-3
4. Mr. Channon

asked the Minister of Overseas Development by how much he proposes to increase British economic aid to the under-developed countries during 1967.

Mr. Bottomley

I would refer the hon. Member to the Written Answer I gave on 12th December to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd).—[Vol. 738, c. 32–3.]

Mr. Channon

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that that showed not an increase but a reduction in British aid to under-developed countries? Does not he think that if he is to make this reduction, it is most unfortunate that he should take it out on overseas students?

Mr. Bottomley

The responsibility of my Department is to ensure that overseas students' fees are met adequately. We recognise the difficulties that confront other countries but we have a right to see that our own economy is sound first. If we cannot do that, we cannot help others.

Mr. Chapman

Will my right hon. Friend make it clear that, as far as the West Indies are concerned, for example, nothing of great importance will be held up as a result of these cuts in the next year?

Mr. Bottomley

As far as all countries are concerned, consistent with our ability to meet their wishes, we shall do so.

Lord Balniel

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recollect the U.N.C.T.A.D. Agreement of 1964, whereby the Government agreed to allocate I per cent. of the gross national product to overseas aid? Does not the figure recently announced show that we are falling below that 1 per cent.?

Mr. Bottomley

That is not so. We reached the figure of 1.17 per cent. in the past year, and I am confident that in the current year the figure will also be about 1 per cent.

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