Motor Vehicles and Tractors

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00 am, 24th November 1966

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how many motor vehicles and tractors have been given to developing countries as a result of the British aid programme; and what was the value of such equipment.

Photo of Mr Albert Oram Mr Albert Oram , East Ham South

We can identify at least £11 million in the last three years from grants or loans. There are further cases which cannot be readily identified where, for example, the aid was given for budgetary support.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

In view of the fact that some of the most desperate needs of India, and for that matter Indonesia, relate to transport, and while acknowledging that the flexible form of aid to which my hon. Friend referred in certain cases is a valid argument, would he give special consideration to the possibility of giving aid from the motor industry?

Photo of Mr Albert Oram Mr Albert Oram , East Ham South

We have this point very much in mind, but I am sure my hon. Friend appreciates that it is not always an easy matter to match needs with surplus supplies in this country. It is quite a long process between receiving orders from overseas and matching them here, and it is not easy quickly to switch.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what study he has made of plans to relate existing British assistance to developing countries to under-used capacity in Great Britain, such as the British Motor Corporation at Bathgate.

Photo of Mr Albert Oram Mr Albert Oram , East Ham South

The Ministry tries to take account of surplus capacity when planning aid, but, as my right hon. Friend's predecessor informed the House on 8th February in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton), [Vol. 724, c. 180–81.] it is not usually practicable to relate credits specifically to surplus capacity.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind the action, to his credit, of the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) in this matter in 1963? Are we clear that there can be a link between tied aid and under-utilised capacity here? Does he accept the proposition that it may not be a question of tied aid or free aid, which is obviously the more desirable, but aid in the form of products which might come from under-used capacity in this country, or no aid at all?

Photo of Mr Albert Oram Mr Albert Oram , East Ham South

On the general question of tied aid, a great deal of it is necessarily tied because this is the way in which comparable donors operate. We have tried to bring to their attention the desirability of untying a good deal of it, but this is a matter on which international action is required.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles , Winchester

In view of that reply, will the Minister give reconsideration to an application for the purchase of buses and mobile training agricultural units required by Rhodesia, and offer them to that country?

Photo of Mr Albert Oram Mr Albert Oram , East Ham South

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me the particulars of this, I will take it into account.