European Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 2:35 pm on 29th November 1993.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin , Colchester North 2:35 pm, 29th November 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of United Kingdom overseas aid is now provided through the European Community.

Photo of Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd , Morecambe and Lunesdale

In 1992–93, 21.3 per cent. of total aid.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin , Colchester North

I thank my hon. Friend for his response. While we should not gloat too much at the European Community's expense, does my hon. Friend agree that our bilateral aid programmes are regarded throughout the world as among the most effective and that they compare most favourably in terms of efficiency and effectiveness with those of the European Community? Will my hon. Friend reassure us that, as far as possible, the United Kingdom percentage of our aid programme will be maintained?

Photo of Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd , Morecambe and Lunesdale

I certainly confirm that our aid programme is widely respected for the way in which it is implemented. I give my hon. Friend the undertaking that we shall always work hard with our European Community partners to improve even further the effectiveness of European Community aid. The Horizon 2000 document which was adopted in November 1992 by the European Community helps towards that end.

Photo of Tom Clarke Tom Clarke Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Does the Minister accept that, in view of their appalling record on bilateral aid, the Government are right not to gloat over the figures? For the next three years, our aid programme will be frozen at £1.9 million, which is a cut in real terms. Although the House recognises the appalling need in many parts of eastern Europe, does the Minister accept that the Government's response should not be at the expense of other developing nations, particularly those in Africa?

Photo of Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd , Morecambe and Lunesdale

First, I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new position and congratulate him on his appointment to the Opposition Front Bench. I know that we can both look forward to many interesting exchanges.

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman said. The British aid programme planning total for this financial year is £2,267 million. In the past six years, the programme has risen by 10 per cent. in real terms.