asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the current proportions of United Kingdom overseas aid allocated through bilateral agreements, through United Nations agencies and through other multilateral agencies.
In 1980, the latest year for which figures are available, the proportions of United Kingdom aid, on the basis of gross public expenditure, were as follows: bilateral 70 per cent.; European community group 14 per cent.; World Bank group 9 per cent.; United Nations agencies 5 per cent.;other multilaterals 2 per cent.
I appreciate the work done by many international agencies. Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is Government policy that, wherever practicable Government aid should be through bilateral agreements? Does he agree that only by direct negotiations between Britain and the recipient country will it become more likely that the aid will be effectively deployed and go to those people most in need?
Yes, Sir. That is absolutely right. However, we have a problem in that we need to meet existing commitments, many of which were entered into a long time ago. We must honour those.