HC Deb 19 January 1981 vol 997 cc16-7
46. Mr. Deakins

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied with the level of United Kingdom aid to Ghana.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Neil Marten)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Deakins

Is that Minister aware the Ghana is one of the poorest countries in the Commonwealth? Is he further aware that it has a young and democratic Government, who will be judged in a few years time on the basis of their economic performance? Will he seek to do even more than he has done already to ensure the survival of democracy in that poor Commonwealth country?

Mr. Marten

I take the hon. Gentleman's point. When resources are available I hope to do as he suggests.

Mr. Speller

I agree with the point made by the hon. Member for Waltham Forest (Mr. Deakins). However, is my hon. Friend aware that many of us feel that when giving aid to countries such as Ghana it is advisable, to a large extent, to attempt to tie that aid to the products of British industry? Is he further aware that, following a recent visit, it has become clear that whereas many nations giving aid tie it specifically to their own products, we have been generous in the extreme and our money is being used to make purchases elsewhere?

Mr. Marten

I disagree with my hon. Friend. A great part of our bilateral aid is tied to British exports.

Mr. McElhone

Does the Minister recall that he recently told the Royal Commonwealth Society that his priority was aid to the poorest countries, especially Commonwealth countries? How does he justify the massive 34 per cent. cut in aid to India between September 1979 and 1980? Is that not another case of double standards from the Government?

Mr. Marten

I regret that this question is about Ghana, not India.

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