§ 42. Mr. Hooley
asked the Minister of Overseas Development what will be the main topics for discussion at the next meeting of governmental representatives set up under the Lomé Agreement.
§ Mr. Greville Janner
If I may refer again to the Vale of Belvoir, I fully accept that we must use our resources as swiftly as possible, but can my hon. Friend assure the people of Leicestershire that the resources will be exploited with the minimum permanent disturbance to the very beautiful surrounding countryside?
§ Mr. Tom King
As the market for coal will clearly be affected by its competitiveness, and as there are Press reports of a 15 per cent. rise in coal prices shortly, can the Minister give a clear assurance that there is no truth in the further rumour that there will be an additional price increase later in the year?
§ Following are the figures:
§ 47. Mr. Forman
asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will make a statement about the agenda for the next meeting of Government representatives under the Lomé Agreement.
§ The Minister of State for Overseas Development (Mr. Frank Judd)
The agenda for the next meeting of the Joint Council of Ministers to be held in Fiji 1027 on 13th and 14th April will not be settled until later next month. But I expect the council to review all aspects of the convention, including the working of its trade provisions, the operation so far of the European Development Fund and Stabex schemes, and the start of its arrangements for industrial co-operation.
§ Mr. Hooley
Can my hon. Friend say whether the discussions will include a debate about the common fund and commodity agreements in the wider context of the world discussion of these matters?
§ Mr. Forman
I recognise the important rôle of these discussions and the development of Stabex and the European Development Fund, but does the Minister agree that it is important for this country to open its markets to the manufactured exports of developing countries as an overriding priority and that this should be discussed in public at such meetings?
§ Mr. Tim Renton
Further to the question of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley), can the Minister say what consideration his Department is giving to the question of the common fund for commodity stabilisation? Can he assure us that this year the question will not fall fatuously between two stools —his Department and the Department of Trade—as it did at the Nairobi Conference last year?
§ Mr. Judd
There is an overall position of the Government on this matter, though the primary responsibility rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade. We have said all along that we are participating constructively in the discussions and that we wish to investigate the precise terms before finally committing ourselves.
§ Sir G. de Freitas
Is my hon. Friend aware that at the European Parliament's Committee on Overseas Development in Brussels on Wednesday there will be criticism of Governments which fail to 1028 do all they can to prevent any Lomé Conference being held in Uganda or to prevent the Community being represented at any such conference? Can he assure me that we shall do everything that we can to prevent such conferences being held in Uganda so that I may better be able to defend the British Government?
§ Mr. Tapsell
In the light of recent events in Uganda, will consideration be given to the economic privileges currently enjoyed by Uganda under the Lomé Convention? Will this be a matter for discussion?
§ Mr. Judd
Community aid to Uganda is a multilateral matter and a subject for the Community as a whole to decide. It is distinct from the United Kingdom's bilateral aid to Uganda, which has ceased. Only one small EDF project has been approved in Uganda, and we and our partners will certainly keep the matter under close review.