HC Deb 28 April 1976 vol 910 cc360-1
6. Mr. Steen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will establish an exchange fund, on a permanent basis, with the aim of stimulating reciprocal programmes involving young people.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Evan Luard)

Her Majesty's Government are in favour of programmes for the exchange of young people but allocations of finance for such exchanges are made in the light of the available resources, the priorities of competing demands for funds, and our cultural relations with other countries. Separate and reciprocal exchange funds would offer no advantages and might prove less flexible in application.

Mr. Steen

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman has not got the point of my Question. I am suggesting that when he meets the Council of Ministers he should try to persuade it to set up a fund pari passu each youth population in each of the Common Market countries so that young people from all the Common Market countries can involve themselves in community work in each of the countries in proportion to the numbers of young people in each of those countries. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman could—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is enough for now.

Mr. Luard

I was fully aware of the point in the original Question. I am also aware of the proposals of the working group of which the hon. Gentleman was chairman. The Government are very much in favour of the maximum possible exchanges between the young people of the Community countries. We have to consider the best way of doing this, and the British Council is already considering the proposals of the hon. Gentleman and his team. We must await its report.