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European Community (Aid To Non-Associates)

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what British proposals have been put forward to the development council of the European Economic Community concerning aid to non-associates.

We have supported proposals for a total programme of 130 million units of account of aid to non-associates in 1980, and we have put forward for consideration projects in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Yemen Arab Republic, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Will the Minister accept that I consider it right steadily to increase the sum of approximately £90 million over the coming years? Is the Minister aware that the Commission is looking for projects to keep in hand and use when appropriate? Can the hon. Gentleman assure us that we shall be submitting projects to the Commission, and that such projects will be made known to the House or placed in the Library?

Does Zimbabwe feature in any project that we have submitted? If not, why not, bearing in mind that, for the first time in its recent history, Zimbabwe is having to import maize and considerable starvation is likely to occur in rural areas?

Zimbabwe has applied for membership under the Lome convention and it will come in under that, and not under the non-associates, which is the subject of the question.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I was hoping that the Secretary of State for Trade might be able to answer question No. 22, which was not reached. I made a request to the right hon. Gentleman to deal with that question. Would it be in order for him to answer it now?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I, too, was hoping that we would reach question No. 22, but we just failed to do so. The right hon. Gentleman wrote a public letter to me and I have recently released a public letter to him replying to his remarks. I am sure that he will find an opportunity of raising the matter again in the House and I shall be pleased to have an opportunity to respond at the appropriate moment.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it not be in order for the Secretary of State to answer the question now?

If a Minister wishes to answer a question at the end of Question Time, it is customary for me to have notice before Question Time. There are two other statements to be made shortly.