§ 36. Mr. Ioan Evans
asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations have been received to increase expenditure on overseas development in developing countries.
§ The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Neil Marten)
The Government have received a number of representations arguing for such an increase.
§ Mr. Evans
Does not the Minister realise that there has been disappointment on both sides of the House at the Government's response to the Brandt Commission report? Will a more favourable response be included in the Queen's Speech?
With regard to Government expenditure, does not the Minister realise that the cause of world peace would be better served by dealing with the cause of world poverty than by increased expenditure in the arms race?
§ Mr. Marten
Regarding the hon. Gentleman's second point, that view has been expressed. With regard to his first point, I suggest that he awaits the Queen's Speech.
§ Mr. Budgen
Will the Minister confirm to the House that aid to overseas countries is now running at almost the same level as our contribution to the EEC? Does he not agree that the Government's response to the Brandt Commission report should be firm and negative and that we should indicate clearly that the time has come to cut these contributions?
§ Mr. McElhone
The Minister must surely be aware that his answer is totally unacceptable to Labour Members. Having regard to the 14 per cent. cut that he announced earlier this year, will he assure 24 the House that he will not accept further cuts in the aid programme?
§ Mr. Marten
I am aware of the first point raised by the hon. Gentleman, and I cannot comment on his second point at this stage.
§ Mr. Foulkes
Will the Minister either confirm, or preferably deny, the weekend reports that overseas aid is being considered as one of the targets for he further round of Government expenditure cuts? If this is so, will the Minister give an assurance that he will resign his position?