§ 59. Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the total sum now committed of the £31 million allocated for assistance to the Falkland Islands.
§ Mr. Raison
The Falkland Islands Government have given priority to the £15 million civil rehabilitation programme. Final decisions on the use of the £31 million development money have not yet been made, although tentative allocations were in mind when my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Pym) announced that commitment on 8 December last. Important progress his been made in preparation for this development work, and the Falkland Islands Government are considering whether they wish to adjust their priorities to free resources for purposes not originally covered.
§ Mr. Spearing
Is it not a fact that the Falkland Islands executive and legislative councils favour a degree of measured progress towards Falkland Islanders owning the land of those islands? Why are Her Majesty's Government not favouring the Falkland Islands Government purchasing private land now on offer to them with money that can be taken out of the £15 million that is still in balance?
§ Mr. Raison
The Government have made available £450,000 to the Falkland Islands Government to purchase the Packe Brothers farm on West Falkland. I should have thought that that way a valuable start. Our view on the question of land distribution is that it is worth while, but that it should proceed gradually and carefully so that we know the real demand.