HC Deb 02 December 1985 vol 88 cc15-6
48. Mr. Stuart Holland

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the South African Development Corporation conference in the light of the political situation in South Africa.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Timothy Raison)

We give our support to this organisation, especially to its work in improving regional economic links. We have already pledged £12 million towards such projects. I plan to attend the next SADCC meeting wih donors, which takes place in Zimbabwe in January.

Mr. Holland

We are delighted to hear that the Minister will be at the Zimbabwe meeting. Presumably he is aware that SADCC estimates costs of at least £1,000 million from the destabilisation in the front-line states caused by South Africa. Can he assure the House that there will be a significant net increase in the United Kingdom's contribution to SADCC over and above what he has said? Does he dissociate himself from the Prime Minister's remarks, before she went to Nassau, that the front-line states could not expect any increased aid in the event of biting sanctions taking effect?

Mr. Raison

I am considering the possibility of further assistance and whether I can announce anything of that sort at the SADCC meeting. However, there is no doubt that sanctions would bite heavily on many SADCC member countries, and one would have to think hard before coming to the view that that was a good thing.

Mr. Anderson

Does the Department or the Commonwealth have any contingency plans to deal with such an occurrence?

Mr. Raison

No, Sir.