HC Deb 07 December 1992 vol 215 c592
39. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new initiatives are proposed to ensure speedier distribution of aid from Her Majesty's Government in drought-affected areas in southern Africa.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

We are continuing to work hard with international agencies and non-governmental organisations to ensure that our assistance for the drought-affected countries of southern Africa is delivered both quickly and to the intended beneficiaries.

Mr. Pike

Although we may be encouraged that that is the right approach, the simple fact is that aid is still taking far too long to get the point where it is needed. May we have every assurance that the Government will do all in their power to ensure that aid given by the British Government reaches these points with the minimum delay—whatever the reasons for such delay?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am not sure what the hon. Gentleman is referring to; I should be grateful for further details if I am to comment further. The facts that I have do not bear out what he suggests. Of the £51 million of bilateral aid that we have committed to the drought-affected areas of southern Africa this financial year, £45 million worth has already been disbursed. That represents more than three quarters of what we have committed.