HC Deb 01 April 1895 vol 32 cc591-2

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government will permit the Inter-Departmental Committee which is considering the question of the Military Contribution from Singapore, Hong Kong, &c., to receive evidence from the taxpayers of those Colonies; whether he can state the exact terms of the question or questions submitted to the Committee for its consideration; or, in the alternative, state if the Committee, in assessing the contributions, will be required to ascertain what amount each Colony is able to pay for such purpose, without intefering with its own general progress, necessary public works, education, &c. who are the members of the Committee; and to whom should communications be addressed?


When the Military Contribution of a Colony has to be referred for Report to a Committee consisting of representatives of the Treasury, the War Office, and the Colonial Office, the Colonial Governments supply, through the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the most ample and exhaustive statement of their views on the question, and also the views of the Colonial public as expressed in the local press, in Memorials, and in public meetings. In addition, the Committee has before it the arguments adduced by the Colonial Associations in this country. It is not considered desirable that the Committee should receive the private views of individual Colonists except through the usual official channels. The Committee is required to review the whole of the facts and statements bearing on the question, including the financial condition and prospects of the Colony concerned, and to submit its conclusions to the Government, which finally decides upon the change, if any, which should be made in the contribution. All communications on the subject should be addressed to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.