HC Deb 19 July 1982 vol 28 cc16-7
46. Mr. Proctor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the level of aid currently granted to countries of the New Commonwealth and Pakistan; and what is the form of such aid.

Mr. Neil Marten

In 1981 we disbursed £444 million of official bilateral aid to countries in the New Commonwealth and Pakistan. Of this total, £336 million was in the form of financial aid and £108 million in the form of technical co-operation.

Mr. Proctor

Will my right hon. Friend consult our right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to see whether a portion of this aid could be devoted to immigrants who take advantage of the Government's voluntary repatriation scheme to help them to resettle when they go back to India, Pakistan and other countries of the New Commonwealth?

Mr. Marten

I do not think that that would be a proper use of the aid funds that have been voted by Parliament for developing countries.

Mr. Deakins

Does the Minister agree that it is a pity that when Britain entered the Common Market 10 years ago such countries were discriminated against in the entry negotiations by being excluded from the benefits, such as they are, of the Lomé convention? Would it not be a great help to those countries if they could be brought within that system?

Mr. Marten

Many Commonwealth countries are within the Lomé convention, although some are outside. Within the Community, we have tried to do our best to help those countries outside the Lomé convention.

Mr. Alton

Will the Minister take no notice of those of his hon. Friends who constantly carp about the Indian and Pakistan communities in Britain and fervently try to persuade the House that there is a need to repatriate them? What economic factors must apply for the 0.7 per cent. to be given to such countries?

Mr. Marten

I cannot say that I shall not take notice of what hon. Members say. I take notice of what every hon. Member says, although I may not agree with many of them. I do not agree with many of the points made from the Opposition Front Bench.

With regard to the 0.7 per cent. target, when growth has been established sufficiently, and when the economy is strong enough, we hope to raise the percentage of aid, which is above the average of OECD countries now.

Sir John Biggs-Davison

Is United Kingdom aid to Pakistan being concentrated on Baluchistan?

Mr. Marten

Some of it is going there. Some is also going to help the refugees from occupied Afghanistan.

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