HC Deb 27 January 1997 vol 289 cc15-6
28. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received since the Budget regarding the level of aid projected for 1997–98. [11143]

Dr. Liam Fox

We have received a number of representations from hon. Members and others.

Mr. Pike

Are not organisations involved in overseas aid concerned that the figure for 1997–98 represents a real-terms cut of 8.4 per cent.? It is also a cut in cash terms. Do not the Government stand condemned on their record of cutting money for overseas aid?

Dr. Fox

I really did not think that any Opposition Member would have the nerve to say that today. The Labour policy document of October 1996 says: Labour will start to reverse the decline in UK aid spending. I wonder how that squares with what the shadow Chancellor said last week. Either Labour's tax and spend promises are not worth the paper on which they are written or Labour Members, if they now agree with our tax and spend priorities, have been telling porkies for the past 17 years. Either the shadow Chancellor's document is dishonest, or Labour now admits that it has been consistently wrong for the past 17 years. If it is going to increase aid, what will it cut—or is its promise just another casualty in its seemingly insane search for power?