HC Deb 24 June 1974 vol 875 cc985-6
43. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a full statement of Great Britain's contribution to World Population Year.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Civil Service Department (Mr. John Grant)

The United Nations invited member States to take part in World Population Year 1974 as a way of focusing attention on different aspects of the population problem, and to make such efforts in the field of population as might be consistent with their respective needs. The Government are sponsoring an essay competition for young people with population as the theme, and two prize-winners will be invited to attend, at Government expense, the Population Tribune in Bucharest which will take place at the same time as the World Population Conference in August.

We shall be represented at that conference by a well-balanced delegation which the Lord Privy Seal hopes to lead himself. I also hope to be present.

The Lord Privy Seal and I have both recently addressed public meetings on the importance of stimulating well-informed public discussion of population matters. During the past year several non-Government organisations have also been prominent in bringing population issues to the attention of the public, and I want to warmly commend their efforts to the House.

A fuller statement of the Government's attitude to population questions will shortly be made public. We intend at the same time to publish the statement of policy for submission to the United Nations before the World Population Conference. We have financially supported the United Nations Fund for Population Activities since it was set up, and this year we have increased our grant from £850,000 to £1 million.

Mrs. Short

In view of the enormous importance of the conference, and since the previous Government did little or nothing to make preparations for World Population Year, will my hon. Friend say what problems he intends to raise at the conference? Will he also give an assurance that there will be equal representation for women on the British delegation to Bucharest?

Mr. Grant

On the first part, I cannot anticipate the statement that is to be made. I cannot say that there will be equal representation for women, but there will certainly be women on the delegation and we shall bear in mind what my hon. Friend said.