HC Deb 06 February 1984 vol 53 cc600-1
66. Mr. Stuart Holland

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he now proposes to take in concert with other countries to make up the shortfall in the seventh replenishment of the funds of the International Development Association.

68. Mr. Mark Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about the current status of the negotiations for the seventh replenishment of the International Development Association.

Mr. Raison

The Government have from an early stage made it clear that we favour a larger replenishment of IDA's resources for the next three years than the $9 billion agreed last month in Washington. As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Robinson) on 27 January, we have decided that we are prepared to make a contribution to supplementary funding on the basis of the usual equitable burden-sharing among donors. The World Bank has welcomed our initiative.

Mr. Holland

I am glad to know that the Government are seeking to prevent a United States boycott of IDA's replenishment. However, is the Minister aware that although the Government appear to be taking a cautious step forward, they are in fact taking a massive stride back, since the planned United Kingdom contribution to IDA at 6.5 per cent. is down by more than one-third from the 10 per cent. that we contributed to the sixth replenishment? Will he assure the House that any IDA replenishment will not be at the cost of the Southern African development co-ordination countries, as is suggested by reports of his recent refusal in Lusaka to increase aid to those countries?

Mr. Raison

Although there will be a reduction in our total contribution as between IDA 6 and IDA 7, the reductions will reflect a number of factors, including the total size of the replenishment and changes in the dollar-sterling relationship. However, if there is a supplementary fund, that will reduce the drop substantially. There is no truth in the suggestion that our attitude towards the SADC conference, and the amount of money I pledged there, is affected by the position of IDA.

Mr. Mark Robinson

I welcome my right hon. Friend's reply. Does he agree that his remarks will be welcomed in Third world and Commonwealth countries, since this is the second time that Britain has stepped in to help the IDA replenishment, which is so important to the many countries that are trying to relieve themselves of the burden of overseas debt?

Mr. Raison

I thank my hon. Friend and agree entirely with what he said. It is notable that at the SADC conference, to which the hon. Member for Lambeth, Vauxhall (Mr. Holland) referred, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth paid warm tribute to Britain over its decision on supplementary funding for IDA.

Mr. Beaumont-Dark

Does my right hon. Friend agree that in this case America's attitude towards IDA is nothing short of appalling? Bearing in mind our excellent record on aid, can we not stress the point to America that no country with such wealth can be called civilised if it is willing to let 40,000 people a day die of starvation, when the great Western world has the means, if it has the will, at its disposal to prevent this?

Mr. Raison

We have made clear to the Americans on several occasions our desire that they should contribute more to the next replenishment of IDA than they plan to do at present. No doubt we shall continue to make that point. However, I must point out that the American bilateral aid programme is increasing at present.

Back to
Forward to