HC Deb 30 May 1968 vol 765 cc2118-9
22. Mr. Judd

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the size of the British aid and development programme in terms of the new United Nations Conference on Trade and Development definition for national targets.

18. Mr. Fisher

asked the Minister of Overseas Development by how much and by what date the United Kingdom's aid to under-developed countries will be increased as a result of the second United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in New Delhi.

Mr. Prentice

As I explained to the House in the debate on 7th May, we shall do our best to reach the new target as and when we can, although our first priority must be to strengthen our balance of payments. On the basis of current aid plans and a preliminary estimate of private flows, our current performance, when related to the latest figure for G.N.P. available—which is for the year 1967—is about 0.9 per cent.

Mr. Judd

Will my right hon. Friend state precisely how soon we shall be fulfilling the new target? Further, will he agree that there is a great deal of public misunderstanding about the true cost to our balance of payments of overseas assistance of this sort?

Mr. Prentice

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend on the last point. I cannot be specific about the date on which we shall reach the new target. Obviously it depends on the progress which we make with our balance of payments. My hon. Friend will recall that the resolution committed us and other countries concerned to use our best endeavours to reach that target, but bearing in mind factors which affected our own economy.

Mr. James Davidson

When is the White Paper on the U.N.C.T.A.D. conference to be published?

Mr. Prentice

I think very soon.

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