HC Deb 29 February 1968 vol 759 cc1728-9
5. Mr. Hooley

asked the Minister of Overseas Development when he expects to make an announcement about the British contribution to the International Development Association.

11. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether he will state the Government's policy in regard to the new proposals for the replenishment of the funds of the International Development Association made by the President of the World Bank on 18th January.

Mr. Prentice

Subject to Parliamentary approval, Her Majesty's Government are prepared to contribute £21.6 million per annum to a replenishment at a level of $400 million per annum over three years as proposed by the President of the World Bank, provided other contributors also agree. This represents an increase in resources of 60 per cent. over the last replenishment, with Britain's share in dollar terms remaining at 12.96 per cent.

Mr. Hooley

Will the Minister accept that this is welcome news? Can he say whether he has any plans for a personal meeting with the new President of the World Bank?

Mr. Prentice

Not at this stage, but I hope that a meeting will be possible before very long.

Mr. Braine

We on this side welcome the Government's decision. But bearing in mind that hitherto this country has gained substantially from the aid that has gone through the I.D.A, have the Government yet made up their mind about the proposals for giving the Americans balance of payments protection in respect of their contribution to the I.D.A.?

Mr. Prentice

Yes. We are willing to enter into special arrangements with I.D.A. and other contributors, providing there is general agreement, to enable the United States to postpone payments due to them, or at least to limit their demand to the amount of procurement in the United States, as long as other funds are still available. This would have the effect in certain cases of postponing their payments while other countries pay first. It would not alter their final liability in the three years' period.

Mr. Judd

Could my right hon. Friend confirm that for every £ we contribute to I.D.A. we still get 30s. worth of orders?

Mr. Prentice

Yes. I think that is the approximate figure. Therefore, it is in our interests, as well as those of the developing countries, that the activities of the I.D.A. should be expanded. The 60 per cent. expansion to which I referred is welcome. Indeed, Her Majesty's Government would have preferred to see a larger expansion still, and we were prepared to go to a doubling of the existing level.