HC Deb 14 July 1980 vol 988 cc1049-50
64. Mr. Deakins

asked the Lord Privy Seal what aid is given from the funds for which he is responsible for strategic reasons.

Mr. Neil Marten

In my statement of 20 February on the Government's aid policy I referred to the basic developmental objective of aid and the need to relieve poverty in the developing world so as to create conditions for greater peace and stability. In that sense, the aid programme as a whole serves the broad policy objectives of the United Kingdom, including strategic considerations.

Mr. Deakins

If the Government decide that aid to a specific country should be given solely for strategic reasons, will the Minister do his best to ensure that such aid comes out of the Ministry of Defence budget and not his own?

Mr. Marten

The hon. Gentleman is probably thinking of military aid. None of our aid to Turkey is for military purposes. Under the aid Act we cannot give aid for military purposes.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Bearing in mind that one of the strategic considerations which the overseas aid programme has in mind is to see that those who benefit from aid have some regard for the system of democracy in this country, is the Minister aware that about 300 Zimbabwe students who have just finished A-levels have been told that they are to receive no further assistance for their studies here? Will it help his strategic aims if these 300 go back to Zimbabwe feeling bitter about the way that the British Government have treated them?

Mr. Marten

I do not think that they should feel bitter about the way that they have been treated. It is undeniable that the serious threat posed by the Soviet Union to the stability of the Middle East region is a factor of which Western Governments must take note, and our aid to Turkey—for example, the £15 million programme loan—forms part of the OECD collective effort to help a country in strategic need.

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