HC Deb 27 March 1974 vol 871 c422
1. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to improve the economic development of the Falkland Islands; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Miss Joan Lestor)

A development plan for the period 1973–74 to 1977–78 has been approved by the Falkland Islands Govment. Over half the funds required for the plan's implementation will be met from United Kingdom development aid.

Mr. Kershaw

I congratulate the hon. Lady on her first appearance at the Box at Question Time. Will she keep in mind the question of a fuel monopoly given to the Argentine State oil company, which appears to be commercially unnecessary and politically potentially undesirable, and which, if persisted with, is likely to frighten away British capital which might wish to go there privately?

Miss Lestor

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I shall bear his comments in mind should the situation arise.

Mr. Luce

Does not the hon. Lady agree that one way of helping the economic development of the Falkland Islands would be to improve communications there? What progress is being made on the construction of the permanent airstrip on the Falkland Islands?

Miss Lestor

Tenders are now being examined by the consultants. The airfield has been designed to the specifications required to enable aircraft to fly to other destinations in Latin America, besides Argentine airfields.

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