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Bilateral Aid

Volume 118: debated on Monday 29 June 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to make a response to the report of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Commons, HC 32, 1986–87, concerning "Bilateral Aid : Country Programmes."

I expect to present the Government's detailed observations on the report to the House after the summer recess.

Does the Minister recall that paragraph 141 of this report says that the last Government White Paper on aid policy appeared about 12 years ago? Does he not agree that the majority of British taxpayers would be quite happy with overseas aid, provided it followed the lines of the White Paper produced by Dame Judith Hart in 1975, entitled "More Help for the Poorest"? Is he aware that the evidence produced to the Select Committee shows that that is not now the policy being pursued? Will he now revert to those policies, which the House and the nation endorsed in 1975?

Quite a few things have happened since 1975. The Labour party has lost three general elections since then. I am not convinced that the electorate is as familiar with Dame Judith Hart's White Paper as is the hon. Gentleman. I can assure him that we shall deal with whether to publish a White Paper in our response to the extremely interesting report from the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.