We hope to receive Sir Harold Beeley's Report, following his review of the information services, next month. This will enable us to consider the programme for future years. The provision proposed for overseas information services for the coming year is £28,249,000.
Does my hon. Friend agree that the money we spend on overseas information services is almost certainly for more cost-effective in terms of value to this country than any other form of overseas Government expenditure? Can he therefore give an assurance that there will be no cut in the amount expended on overseas information without our having a very full debate in the House? Further, can he say whether the Beeley Report will be published?
I agree that we get very good value for the money we spend on overseas information, but I am sure that we should await Sir Harold Beeley's Report before making any decisions. In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins), I indicated that we were bearing in mind the possibility of publishing the Report.
Will the Under-Secretary of State realise that there will be strong support on all sides for maintaining our overseas information services and that there are other candidates, such as Government hospitality, for a cut rather than our overseas information services?
Has there not already been a reduction in Government overseas information services, and does not this entail diminution of British influence? Is not this aggravated by the fact that there has already been a reduction in the overseas aid programme? Will the Government consider the two problems together?