HL Deb 04 August 1966 vol 276 cc1454-5

3.9 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what has so far been achieved by the Ministry of Overseas Development and the Voluntary Committee on Overseas Aid and Development and what further joint activity they have in mind for the immediate future.]


My Lords, I must emphasise the independence of this most useful Committee. The Ministry contributes to the cost of its secretariat and, in order to establish liaison, sends an observer to its meetings. To date, the Committee has appointed a secretary; it has established offices, and it has appointed, in consultation with the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, two education officers who have initiated an education programme. It is proving a valuable forum for consultation among the member societies.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for that reply, and to go on to ask him whether he, and the Ministry for which he is speaking, are fully aware of the great potentials that exist arising out of the relationship between the Ministry and this voluntary Committee. Is the noble Lord aware—I am sure he is—that the results achieved abroad by our overseas development policy depend in a direct way upon the support for them by the public at home? Is the noble Lord further aware that, through this Committee, his Ministry have the services of all the OXFAM collectors, Christian Aid Committees, and U.N.O. branches throughout the country; and can he assure us that the Ministry will develop this relationship with imagination and drive?


My Lords, I am sure that what the noble Lord himself said, when we debated the Overseas Aid Bill earlier, will have done much to call the attention of the Ministry to the—as he put it—potential of this voluntary Committee, and I will certainly urge that every opportunity is taken to use the body for the constructive purpose which the noble Lord apparently has in mind.