Clause 1

Part of Orders of the Day — Overseas Aid Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th July 1968.

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Photo of Mr Frank Hooley Mr Frank Hooley , Sheffield, Heeley 12:00 am, 5th July 1968

The hon. Member was talking about whether this individual or that individual, this country or that country, on balance, as far as can be calculated, will be 10s. better off or 10s. worse off. That is the kind of approach which is disastrous for any statesmanship in international dealings and, in particular, in international trade, commerce and monetary affairs. It is the kind of approach which was disastrous in the 1930's when the Conservative Party had charge of our affairs.

The value of the I.D.A. is that it recognises that the problem of world poverty is global and must be tackled, to some extent at any rate, by combined and carefully calculated international effort. The immense importance of the I.D.A. is that it provides funds—I am sorry to say on a rather limited basis—which are not tied directly to the commercial or political policies of an international government. For that reason, I very much welcome the fact that the British Government are participating vigorously and fully in the replenishment of the funds of this institution. It gives me particular pleasure that on one day in our business we are dealing with two institutions of the United Nations—the International Monetary Fund and the International Development Association—which are extremely impor- tant for promoting the well-being of the world at large.

I congratulate the Minister on persuading the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it is in the direct interest of this country—I repeat, in the direct interest of this country—that we should participate in the replenishment of I.D.A. funds. I have noted with concern that in recent months we appear to have adopted political criteria for the granting of aid to particular countries. I refer to the South Arabian Federation and to Tanzania. I hope that the contribution of this Bill will be regarded as a counterbalancing act, as moving more in the direction of international co-operation and away from narrow short-sighted political considerations in the giving of aid.

I welcome the Bill on the ground that it strengthens international co-operation and that it is a further token of the Labour Government's determination to take part fully in dealing with the problem of world poverty.