HC Deb 21 December 1962 vol 669 cc278-9W
Sir H. Legge-Bourke

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what arrangements he proposes to make to assist developing countries in the promotion of scientific research, having regard particularly to the fact that monies available for this purpose under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act cannot be used for the benefit of independent countries.

Mr. Vosper

I recognise the need, which has been emphasised to me by the Overseas Research Council, to sponsor research into the problems which impede the economic and social progress of developing countries, both independent and dependent, as part of our technical assistance effort. It has been the practice under successive Colonial Development and Welfare Acts for the Secretary of State for the Colonies to allocate a specific proportion of the funds available to the support of colonial research. This assurance of ear-marked funds has enabled the advice of British scientists to be brought to bear on the assessment of priorities and the review of results and many of them have acquired, over the years, valuable knowledge and experience of the research problems of overseas countries, particularly in the tropics.

On this analogy and with the advice of the Overseas Research Council it is my intention, subject to the approval of Parliament, to provide separately in the Estimates of the Department for the support of research in or for overseas countries, who may welcome this form of aid. Such assistance would be available to any countries with which we have technical assistance arrangements and would not be restricted to dependent territories as was the case under the terms of the C.D. & W. Acts. Funds previously available under the current Act for this proposal will be merged in the new provision, from which the remaining dependent territories will, of course, continue to benefit. It has been agreed that this arrangement should take effect from the beginning of the present financial year and a Supplementary Estimate, to be presented to Parliament shortly, will be so designed. An advance of £950,000 will be made from the Civil Contingencies Fund to cover expenditure between now and the approval of the Supplementary Estimate.