HC Deb 20 July 1987 vol 120 cc18-9
65. Mr. Tom Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy towards the United Nations children's fund's proposals entitled "Adjustment with a Human Face"; and if Her Majesty's Government will promote these policies at the forthcoming annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Mr. Chris Patten

We share the concern of the United Nations children's fund for the welfare of the poorest people when developing countries are carrying out structural adjustment. At the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank we shall continue to encourage Governments to take steps which will protect the poorest vulnerable groups during adjustment. But without adjustment, continuing economic decline would deepen poverty for many poor people.

Mr. Clarke

Is the Minister aware that hon. Members will welcome the Chancellor's spoken initiatives on African debt, based as they no doubt are on Judith Hart's negotiating achievements? Does he accept that there is a crying need for the Chancellor to press hard on the call for a more equitable approach to structural adjustment, and that he will be given a brilliant opportunity to do that at the important meetings in Washington?

Mr. Patten

I hope that we shall be able to follow up what was said at the spring and the autumn meetings of the fund and the bank, to which the hon. Gentleman referred. He is quite right to draw attention to the important initiative that my right hon. Friend has taken on African debt. I very much hope that that initiative will receive the support that it deserves from other countries.