The right hon. Lady the Minister of Overseas Development, whose absence the Committee deplores, has frequently been on record as expecting an increase in aid. The public aid of this country does not compare all that well with the aid provided by some other European countries, but that is more than made up by our private investment overseas. I do not intend to go into that today, other than to say that yesterday's announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer may make it much more difficult to get the private investment which we all want to see in certain developing countries in Asia and Africa. Limited it obviously is at a time of financial crisis, be it public or private. Therefore, some decision must be made about where it goes.
Surely our friends in the world are bound to come first, not only because they are our friends, but to forward British policy as a whole. As my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Frederic Harris) and my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Sir C. MottRadclyffe) asked with great clarity, who, in the end, is to decide where that aid should go? We all know of the differences of opinion among Departments. They will continue in future as they have been present in the past. What is the position of the Treasury to be? Is the right hon. Lady to be a kind of super-Treasury? I can only say that the speech of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was as unclear as a pike in a muddy pond.