HC Deb 30 June 1986 vol 100 c415W
Mr. Tom Clarke

asked the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report the exchange of letters dated June 1986 between the hon. Member for Monklands, West and herself on the subject of overseas aid; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister


The information is as follows:

10 Downing Street

London SW1A 2AA

10 June 1986

Dear Mr. Clarke

You will recall our correspondence earlier this year about the figure for official and private flows from this country to developing countries. The information then available suggested that the 1984 figure for total flows was 0.89 per cent. of GNP. Since then, more information has become available which indicates that the amount of direct private investment in developing countries from this country rose sharply in 1984. This means that the revised figure for total official and private flows is 1.23 per cent., rather than 0.89 per cent. This figure is close to that for 1982 and 1983 and compares with the United Nations target for official and private flows of 1 per cent.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Thatcher

Tom Clarke Esq. CBE MP

House of Commons

London SW1A OAA

11 June 1986

Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher,

Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for your letter dated 10 June.

I am grateful for the trouble you have taken on this matter.

However, I am interested to know what new information led to the revised figures, and I should be most grateful if you could help to clarify the matter.

Yours sincerely

Tom Clarke

10 Downing Street

23rd June 1986

Dear Mr. Clarke

Thank you for your letter of 11th June in which you asked for further clarification of the revised figure of 1.23 per cent. of GNP for combined official and private flows from Britain to developing countries in 1984.

I explained in my earlier letter that the change is almost entirely due to revised estimates of British direct private investment in developing countries. The Department of Trade and Industry conducts surveys of British firms in order to collect these statistics. The original estimate was based upon a quarterly sample survey. The revised estimate is based upon the results of a full survey. Total net direct investment in developing countries in 1984 is estimated to have been £1,896 million, more than double the earlier estimate. On this basis the total of net official and private flows to developing countries in 1984 represented 1.23 per cent. of GNP. When OECD calculate and publish the flows one element of direct investment overseas, that relating to investments in financial subsidiaries, is omitted. In Britain's case this amounted to £149 million. As a result the final published figure against the 1 per cent. UN target will be 1.18 per cent. for 1984.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Thatcher

Tom Clarke Esq CBE MP

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