HC Deb 05 December 1922 vol 159 cc1481-2
18. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the 11 territorially elected members of the Ceylon Legislative Council have resigned in a body as a protest against the action of the Ceylon Government in forcing through the Council the scheme for increasing the salaries of officials by means of the officials' votes; that this salaries scheme will involve heavy additional taxation upon the people of Ceylon, and that the scheme was carried in council by 19 official votes against 18 unofficial; and whether he will reconsider the whole question?


I am aware that certain of the unofficial members of the Ceylon Legislative Council have resigned. The scheme for increasing the salaries of all grades of the Government service was carried in the Council by 19 votes to 18, the majority consisting of three elected and two nominated unofficial members and 14 official members. The additional taxation involved is, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, by no means heavy, and the burden of taxation in Ceylon is very light in comparison with that in colonies of similar importance. The increase of official salaries was considered by the late Secretary of State to be essential, in view of the widespread discontent in all grades of the Government service; the Secretary of State has concurred in this view, and sees no reason to reconsider the matter.


Does this not make rather a farce of representative government in Ceylon; and may I ask whether the Secretary of State took into account the present acute depression in Ceylon?


I think that was taken into account; The decision was made before my Noble Friend assumed office. It would be quite impossible to go back upon it now.