HC Deb 23 July 1970 vol 804 cc751-3
Q3. Mr. Alex Eadie

asked the Prime Minister if he will include the Minister of Overseas Development in the Cabinet.

Q5. Mr. Raphael Tuck

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that he will retain the Ministry of Overseas Development as a separate Department.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I would refer to my reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) on 14th July.—[Vol. 803, c. 185.]

Mr. Eadie

Is the Prime Minister aware that this suggestion has come from other quarters where there is no possibility of any bias being attached to the suggestion? Would he not agree that if he as Prime Minister were to make this announcement, it would establish confidence not only in his Government's intentions but among people overseas that they will be involved in overseas aid under his Administration?

The Prime Minister

I do not accept that the effectiveness of overseas aid, let alone the quantity, depends on the Minister being in the Cabinet. In any case, I do not want to prejudge the review of the organisation, the results of which I shall announce in October.

Mr. Braine

With regard to the second Question, is my right hon. Friend aware that what matters is not so much the maintenance of a separate Ministry of Overseas Development, although that Department has served the nation exceedingly well by any yardstick, but that the concentration of expertise that it represents should not be dispersed? Is he further aware that what really matters, too, is the Government's will to have a sensible, balanced, expanding, well-thought-out aid programme and that it is upon that test that the Government will be judged?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my hon. Friend on both points. I would only add to the last one that it depends on what private investment it is possible to get into the developing countries and the sort of reception which the developing countries will give to those who want to invest in them.