HC Deb 19 March 1970 vol 798 c582
4. Mr. Peter Mr. Jackson

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why, when her department publishes the net total of foreign aid, such totals exclude interest repayments by receiving countries.

Mrs. Hart

The international standards of performance laid down at the Second U.N.C.T.A.D. Conference in respect of financial resource flows to developing countries takes no account of interest payments, but details of these have been given to the House.

Mr. Jackson

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, would she not agree that on 22nd January, in reply to a question tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn), she failed to take into account, when giving net aid figures, inflows by way of repayment of interest? Will she take to heart the comments of the 1967–68 Estimates Committee that her Department should give more accurate and accessible information as to the true cost of the annual aid programme?

Mrs. Hart

The difficulty that arises is that the House of Commons asks for one set of information and international conferences ask for another. We have to give the figure in two forms. On a number of occasions in the last few months both I and my predecessors have made quite clear the amount of interest repayment, but in the calculations for U.N.C.T.A.D. we were not asked to do so, and indeed were specifically asked not to do so.

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