HC Deb 22 July 1974 vol 877 c1041
51. Dr. Hampson

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the size of British Executive Service Overseas; how much of its money comes from Government sources; and how many executives it has sent abroad in comparison with equivalent organisations in the United States and Canada.

Mr. William Price

The British Executive Service Overseas—a joint enterprise between private industry and Her Majesty's Government started as a pilot scheme in 1972—has a staff of five. Within an agreed maximum, 50 per cent. of the reasonable expenses of operating the scheme is met from Government sources.

Ten executives have so far gone abroad, all since June 1973, with more in the pipeline. The similar United States and Canadian organisations, which have been operating for much longer, have, naturally, sent many more executives overseas.

Dr. Hampson

Is there not an extraordinary contrast between our programme and those of Canada and the United States? May we have an assurance that the Government have no plans to reduce their programme, or even to terminate it, as has been rumoured? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that this scheme creates good will and helps the developing countries to increase their trading potential, and that from it there is a marvellous spin-off for British firms? Will the Minister take a more positive approach to the scheme?

Mr. Price

We are doing just that. The figures I gave were those laid down by the previous Government. This year we shall be reaching a figure of 24 executives, and we hope that it will increase in future years.

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