HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc455-6
14. Mr. Tebbit

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ask the Tanzanian Government to expedite payment of blocked moneys due to United Kingdom citizens and compensation for nationalised British assets.

Miss Joan Lestor

We are in frequent contact with the Tanzanian authorities, through our High Commission in Dar-es-Salaam, on both these matters. We welcome recent signs of progress on some aspects of the problem.

Mr. Tebbit

Until there are more signs of progress, in the sense that the moneys which are due to British citizens are actually paid to them, would it not be a good idea if we began to tighten our hold a little on the moneys which we pay to Tanzania in the form of aid at the expense of citizens who cannot get their money?

Miss Lestor

First, the money has not been paid at the expense of citizens who cannot get their money. Some compensation payments have been made—[Interruption.] I said that the money has not been paid at the expense of those people who cannot get their money. If Conservative Members will let me finish they will see what I am getting at. It is, after all, International Women's Year.

Some compensation payments have been made over the past year totalling about £400,000. The Tanzanian authorities recently made offers to a number of British farmers whose properties were nationalised in 1973. We understand that agreements have been reached with some companies on compensation payments. I can only repeat what I said on the last occasion on the question of aid, namely, that Tanzania is in very great economic difficulties, and if the payment of this compensation rests on Tanzania's economy being viable it would clearly be a self-defeating policy, if we want to get our compensation, to withdraw some of the aid which is assisting the country in its progress.

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