HC Deb 24 February 1986 vol 92 cc674-5
48. Mr. Gale

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commowealth Affairs if he is satisfied that the service provided by the Crown Agents to other governmental organisations presents, in all cases, good value for money.

Mr. Raison

Yes, but problems arise in all organisations and the Crown Agents should be able to deal with them.

Mr. Gale

I had hoped that my right hon. Friend would take the opportunity to comment on our excellent aid programme in the Gambia. As part of that aid programme, the ODA is supplying Land Rovers. Land Rovers have to be bought through the Crown Agents and commission is paid on them. Would it not be more satisfactory if the ODA were able to buy the vehicles direct from the manufacturer at a discount and thus provide more aid?

Mr. Raison

I can confirm from my own experience that we are running a good aid programme in the Gambia. I acknowledge that there have been problems with Land Rovers supplied by the Crown Agents. However, I think that the case for operating through the Crown Agents is a good one. It is important to have competence and integrity in the procurement operation. I believe that the Crown Agents can provide that.