§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards membership of the social development fund of the Council of Europe.
§ Mr. Garel-Jones
We take the view that our aid programme is best directed towards the poorest countries in Africa and Asia and elsewhere outside Europe, which have more pressing needs. If we were to subscribe to the fund we should have to divert our aid resources. This would result in a reduction in our contribution to bilateral and multilateral aid programmes, which neither we nor the other countries concerned in these programmes would favour.