HC Deb 21 April 1986 vol 96 c20
59. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the present level of aid to Nepal; and whether he has any plans to increase it.

Mr. Raison

Expenditure in 1984–85 was approximately £10 million. We expect to continue to spend about the same level of aid, and I have recently agreed to provide nearly £8 million towards the cost of rehabilitation of a section of the east-west highway from Naubise to Mugling.

Mr. Alton

Given that about 77 per cent. of people in Nepal are illiterate, that the average life expectancy is only 45 years of age, and that 150 out of every 1,000 children die at childbirth, does the Minister not think that £10 million is pretty inadequate? Following the recent visit to Nepal by his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has the Minister agreed to make more funds available for those areas of need?

Mr. Raison

There are many pressures on our aid programme, but within it I believe that the amount that we have allocated to Nepal is very respectable. I also believe that the quality of the work that we are doing there is valuable and well appreciated by the people of Nepal.