Overseas Government Debts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:50 pm on 4th December 1990.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West 10:50 pm, 4th December 1990

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention.

The scale of the dilemma that faces eastern Europe is one that is not recognised. We can use our tax system and tax instruments to aid the countries of eastern Europe in the repayment of loans and to encourage joint ventures.

The countries of eastern Europe face the triple task of building democracies, becoming independent and creating new market systems. In addition, they face the consequences of a collapsing Soviet economy, with all the lines of supplies and materials coming to an end. There is also the Gulf crisis, which has increased the price of oil to an almost impossible level for eastern Europe. I urge Conservative Members to understand that the know-how funds that the Government have made available to only a few countries amount to a modest contribution that is entirely out of scale to the disaster that is about to overtake eastern Europe. They should look at the problems of eastern Europe, particularly the Soviet Union.

The Conservative party has long had an infatuation with, and a belief in, the infallibility and omnipotence of Mikhail Gorbachev; only now is it finally recognising that he is responsible for economic chaos in that great empire. Some 13 of the 15 republics have announced that they wish to leave the empire and have some scale of independence. They all believe that they are putting a large piece of meat in the pot and receiving a small piece out of it.

While I realise that the instrument applies primarily to the banking system and the enormous problems of the third world, I urge the Government to recognise the magnitude of the problems emerging in eastern Europe. They should use our taxation and banking systems in an imaginative and creative way to help those countries and aid them in creating their new democracies.