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Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will provide development assistance to Nicaragua ; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens) on 18 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 365–66.] Britain is providing major help to Nicaragua through multilateral organisations, principally the European Community, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Inter-American Development Bank. The shares met from the British aid programme since mid-1979 have now risen to over £3 million of which European Community aid accounts for just over £2 million. There is every likelihood that these and other multilateral organisations in which Britain participates will contribute also to Nicaragua's development once the rehabilitation stage has been completed.At a time when we are having to cut public expenditure we cannot afford to start a continuing programme of bilateral aid as well ; but we expect to spend a little more than £100,000 in the current financial year on various short-term projects for Nicaragua.