§ 34. Mr. Peter M. Jackson
asked the Minister of Overseas Development what was the effect on Great Britain's balance of payments for the years 1967 and 1968, rounded to the nearest £1 million, taking account of purchases in the United Kingdom, the amortisation on borrowed capital and interest payment on loans, of the total aid programme.
§ Mrs. Hart
The effect of our aid programme on the balance of payments is complex. The balance of payments cost of a marginal addition to the aid programme is estimated at about one-third or rather more where there is pressure on the capacity of industries producing aid-financed exports. Amortisation and interest payments on account of past aid loans, amounting to approximately £58 million in 1967 and £60 million in 1968, are estimated to make a net contribution to the balance of payments of the order of £40 million a year.
§ Mr. Jackson
Does my right hon. Friend agree that, looking at the figures, the demands on the economy of this country for economic aid are far less than many people both in this House and outside accept? Does my right hon. Friend not think it proper to bring this information to the notice of the public in a more acceptable way than is already done?
§ Mrs. Hart
There is a valid point here. I am certain that the opponents of aid do not understand that this is so. I shall be glad to do everything that I can to make this information more fully known to the public. But I also have to rely a great deal on those Members of this House who are in favour of aid and higher aid programmes to help me to do it.
§ Mr. Prentice
Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in addition to the point that she mentions, there are considerable indirect benefits to our balance of payments through aid, such as orders for spare parts and replacements in aided projects, and the orders that we get from 607 other countries' aid programmes and multilateral aid programmes? The position can be summarised by saying that the best possible investment for the future of our balance of payments would be an increase in the flow of development aid from Britain and from the developed world generally.