HC Deb 09 December 1926 vol 200 cc2390-406

I beg to move, in page 4, column 2, to leave out lines 18 and 19.

This Schedule refers to the £10,000,000 guaranteed to British East Africa, and the Committee will observe that this sum is divided into £6,500,000 for the purposes of railways, £2,500,000 for harbours, and £1,000,000 for roads and certain other purposes, including research. These figures for British East Africa follow substantially the allocation made in the Schuster Committee Report, but, as has been pointed out, the Schuster Committee were able to agree only upon certain of these schemes, amounting to about £1,500,000, as settled in the sense that they could be undertaken with safety forthwith, all the rest of the field depended upon a great deal of extra investigation and inquiry, and I think it is beyond all dispute that it is very likely indeed that further inquiry might show that the specific allocations in the Schedule are no longer appropriate. It is perfectly true that the East African Commission, over which the Parliamentary Secretary for the Colonial Office presided, emphasised the importance of railways, and said that a very large amount of money must be expended on them, but it may be that as a result of further inquiry by the Schuster Committee these sums will be no longer appropriate. Some other form of transport may be preferred, although the Government will be committed by this Bill to a specific allocation of £6,500,000 to railways. They might find also that they required more for harbours than the £2,300,000 which this Schedule specifies. That would be an unhappy state of affairs, because we are not likely to have another Bill for some time, and in schemes of this kind it is desirable to have the greatest fluidity or freedom. Accordingly this Amendment and a consequential one which follows, are designed to make the Schedule mention only the £10,000,000, and to leave it to the Advisory Committee, the Treasury and the Colonial Office to proceed with freedom with the schemes recommended from time to time.


The point raised by the right hon. Gentleman is one which was in our minds, of course, in framing the Schedule. Obviously it is impossible to do more than frame a Schedule in general terms—to indicate in broad outlines what is likely to be the need. The Schuster Committee, though it has only sanctioned the construction of one or two items, has indicated what, its conclusions are in the main on the other items; but in order to avoid any difficulty such as the right hon. Gentleman suggested there has been in serted in Sub-section (2, a) of Clause 1 the words subject in either case to any arrangements which may be made with the assent of the Treasury and the Secretary of State for the application of sayings on one head of expenditure under the said First Schedule or the said Second Schedule, as the case may be, to another head of expenditure there-under: That does give a very great measure of elasticity and enables us to vary the allocation freely, but we put in a Schedule in order that the House should have a general idea of the extent of the allocation.


I had not read the words to which the Colonial Secretary referred as conferring the power he now mentions. In some quarters they were interpreted in a much more limited sense but if the right hon. Gentleman means that in practice they can vary the Schedule effectively I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 4, line 18, after the word "Railways," to insert the words "other than a railway to the Tete coalfield."

My reasons for this Amendment have already been indicated in a speech I made on the Money Resolution which preceded this Bill. The bridge over the Zambesi River will of built in Portuguese territory, the railway will be built in Portuguese territory, the Tete coalfield is in Portuguese territory and, finally, as if these were not enough, the Tete coalfield itself is owned by a Belgian syndicate. The taxpayers of this country are asked to guarantee the loan for that bridge. The reason for building the bridge is to facilitate the development of the coalfield. The Schuster Committee say that this coalfield will have an output of 300,000 tons of coal per annum. This coal is to be sent to a Portuguese port.

It is going to crush whatever British coal we have there out of the market. What wages it is intended to pay in the 'Pete coalfield I have no means of knowing, but I do know that the rate of wages paid in Nyasaland runs from 4s. 6d. to 6s. per month, and I will take the average as 5s. per month. Therefore the British taxpayer is being asked to guarantee a loan to facilitate the development of a coalfield in Portuguese territory, the coal to be sent to a Portuguese port over a Portuguese railway, and the whole business is to be exploited by a Belgian syndicate, and the workers will be paid a wage of about 5s. a month. With 100,000 miners out of employment in this country, and in face of the fact that the Indian coalfield is being exploited to a large extent by Indian capitalists, and to a smaller extent by British capitalists, Lord Inchcape being amongst them, there is not a very bright prospect for these natives.

According to the official figures a coal hewer in India working 48 hours per week, assisted by his wife, receive 8s. 6d. per week between them. This coal arrives at Calcutta and is sold at 11s. per ton, and this is crushing British coal out of the Indian market. Already Indian coal comes as far west as the Suez Canal. I am told by men who were interested in the coalfields that within five years the cheap Indian coal, with which we cannot possibly compete, is likely to capture the Italian, the Greek and other British coal markets. As all that was not enough, the Colonial Secretary now proposes to guarantee a loan by the British taxpayer to facilitate the building of a railway and a bridge on Portuguese territory, and a railway to develop a coalfield on Portuguese territory owned by a Belgian syndicate who are going to pay their men 5s. a month. But whatever guarantees the Government give they cannot possibly regulate the treatment of labour on Portuguese territory, and for these reasons we are opposed to this Bill going through.

I do not want to stop the building of the Zambesi bridge, because I believe that is necessary and essential for the development of Nyasaland. I believe Nyasaland is the least developed of our Colonies, and as a consequence the wages are lowered and the conditions of work are bad, and I should not like to do anything that would prevent the economic development of Nyasaland. I would like to have an assurance from the Colonial Secretary that before the building of the Zambesi bridge is commenced he will insist upon the condition that no coal shall be allowed to come over that bridge which is produced under sweated conditions. I know the difficulty of doing this, but if it is not done you will have the British taxpayer guaranteeing loans, part of which will be used for producing a commodity which will keep our coal out of -those markets. If the right hon. Gentleman will not agree to my suggestion I hope this Amendment will be pressed to a Division.


We have already been told that the only possible outlet for the trade of Southern Nyasaland is by means of the Zambesi bridge. We have also been told that the native population in that country are paid much lower wages than in the adjoining territories, but in our view the whole economic conditions of Nyasaland would change very rapidly if we build this bridge. It is almost unfortunate for this Debate that the Tete coalfield is in the neighbourhood of Nyasaland, but I would like to point out that in this coalfield if they use the river to convey the coal it would draw away a certain number of Nyasaland natives to work there. We have no control over the working conditions or the wages in the Tete coalfield. We do not know much about what is going to be done in regard to develop- ment of the Tete coalfield, but we do not know of anything which ought to prevent us giving this guarantee for the construction of the Zambesi bridge, We can, however, give the assurance that this guarantee will not be used to construct a single line of further railways in Portuguese territory except in regard to the little bit which connects Nyasaland with the Zambesi Bridge, which is at the bottom of British Nyasaland.

At the point where it is proposed to construct the bridge it may be necessary to divert the railway at the Zambesi end, and that is the only new construction of a railway in Portuguese territory which could conceivably be covered by this guarantee. We have given no undertaking whatever for any construction of the length between the Tete coalfield and our territory. I think the hon. Member will see that our paramount interest consists in providing for these territories free access to the sea, and the providing of adequate means of transport for imports and exports far outweigh the possible danger of the Zambesi bridge proving an obstacle to our coal trade.

The future development of the Tete coalfield we are not in a position to foresee, but if we get the Zambesi bridge built the British Nyasaland natives would find plenty of opportunities to grow tobacco, maize, cotton, and other crops in Nyasaland for export, and then they would not drift away to work elsewhere to the same extent as they are doing now. Undoubtedly with the limited output of the Tete coalfield it would be very difficult for the coal they produce there to be sold in competition with coal sent from this country to the other ports, because most of the coal produced there would be required locally for local purposes. I have now given the hon. Members such information as I possess on this point. I do not know what the actual conditions of the Tete coalfield are but I give the hon. Member an assurance that we are not going to spend any of this guaranteed money in building any railway in Portuguese territory with the exception of the little bit I have mentioned.


May I point out to the Under-Secretary that the Schuster Report states that given an outlet to the sea in this district a traffic of 300,000 tons of coal could be expected in a few years time? Does the hon. Gentleman think that the placing of 300,000 tons of fresh coal on these markets is not going to have a bad effect on the British coal trade?


I know that the Schuster Committee has asked for more information on that point, and the hon. Member should not take that statement as final. It is not my business either to "boost" or depress the Tete coalfield. but I wish to make it clear that none of this money is going to be spent in Portuguese territory to develop the Tete, colliery.

8.0 p.m.


In regard to the coal situation there is one thing we cannot get away from, and it is that whether you read the Schuster Report or other things that have been written about this question, you have to consider them all in regard to their effect on the British coal industry. The whole prospect is one of future development. For these reasons I am entirely against the building of the Zambesi bridge, and I am against any British money being spent in this connection. There is no use talking about the good of the natives or putting any other phrases upon it. The whole basis of the Report and of this Bill seems to me to be something that has been tried and tried in the dark, but which has not yet got a grip of reality. If you talk of the possibilities of a coalfield it means, if it means anything, that you are to place the British Government, or whatever Government is in charge of that coalfield, in the position that they are going to have a major hand before many years in the traffic over that bridge. Even the Schuster Report points out that the only way of having this bridge made a paying proposition is the possibility of coal going down there. It is quite true that you cannot have any development in this part of Africa without this bridge, and, if we had been fully developed here, our coal, our land and industry, and if we could not employ another man I would be only too willing to help to develop another country, but so long as we are in our present position I will use my voice against this proposal, and I will vote against it.


I would not have taken part in the Debate but for the fact that the last right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Front Bench smiled when my colleague the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) raised a question of the conditions that would hold good in this Tete coalfields. We are all very anxious here to facilitate this Bill. We are very anxious for the development of the British Empire in general. We believe this is a means whereby our people at home can be employed. Coming from an engineering centre as I do, where we have steel-works, I am very anxious to do all I can to get work for that district, and we see the possibility of work in this bridge. But, being a Scotsman, I do not want to buy my toys too dear, and I am afraid that in getting this bridge we may have to pay too terrible a price. We have to look a little into the future to see what is going to happen here. There is no getting away from the fact—the Dominion Secretary himself could not explain it away—that there are 300,000 tons of coal going to be put on the market as early as possible to compete with our own people, who are at the moment placed in a difficulty in reorganising the mines of this country. The outstanding economic factor that determines the conditions which the Government was forced to force upon the miners of this country was that, up to two years ago, this country sent out £5,000,000 of coal to the Eastern seas. Now we do not send a pennyworth. There is a great market cut off, the reason being that the Indian mines supply the Eastern seas with that coal. We used to send it to Singapore, the second greatest coaling station in the world. How is it that India now supplies that coal? Is it because Indian coal is better than ours for steaming purposes? Certainly not; no better steaming coal exists than British coal. Is it because the Indian miner is better than the British miner? No: there is no better miner in the world than the British miner. The reason is the economic factor, the standard of life of the worker in India.

In India you have a miner working in the mines for 8s. 6d a week for both himself and his wife. He is down the mine for 30 hours at a stretch, not seven or eight hours. There is no limitation to his hours per day there is only a limitation to the hours he may work per week. We know what the ruling class of this country are prepared to do and are capable of doing with our great Empire, using what is commonly called the backward races of our Empire to lower the standard of life of our people at home. We are not to be parties to that. We are anxious for the development of the Empire, because we believe it can be used as the most powerful influence for peace in the world, but this is not the way. When you think that at the moment that coal is being put into dock at Calcutta at 11s. a ton, how are we able to compete against that? My authority is the Chief Inspector of Mines at Bengal, and his official figures for the year 1923. In the coalfields there the Indian minors are working 48 hours for three rupees, two annas, equal to 5s. 2d., and the women working underground have two rupees for 48 hours, equal to 3s. a week, making a total for man and woman of 8s. 2d. Thai is the work of Lord Inchcape, whose name has been thrown across the Floor of this House several times this week in reference to China. Lord Inch-cape is a fellow-countryman of my own and some years ago he was known by the common name of John MacKay. Only two years ago, he wrote in the "Glasgow Herald" about the advis-

ability of us going back to our old Sabbath day. Such hypocrisy never was witnessed in the land before. Now he turns round and says that the reason for the trouble in China is that we are sending out too many Christian missionaries.


I do not see how this argument as to what Lord Inchcape said or could possibly say on the subject of missionaries in China can have any reference to the Tete railway.


I obey your ruling. I know quite well that you have difficulties, but I can assure you, as a member of the working class, that I have no difficulty in saying that I should have got in here to let the House know what is going on, and to let the country know. This is what I stated in Derbyshire, where I was brought before the authorities in regard to the coalfields in India, but it was pooh poohed. But Facts are chiels that winna ding, And daurna he disputed. I have had my say, Mr. Hope, and I thank you very much.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 91; Noes, 193.

Division No. 551.] AYES. [8.12 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, Wail) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Palin, John Henry
Adamson, W. M. (Staff, Cannock) Guest, Haden (Southwark, N.) Paling, W.
Ammon, Charles George Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Ponsonby, Arthur
Attlee, Clement Richard Hardie, George?. Potts, John S.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston) Harris, Percy A. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Baker, Walter Hartshorn, Rt Hon. Vernon Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hayday, Arthur Rose, Frank H.
Barnes, A. Henderson. T. (Glasgow) Sakiatvala, Shapurji
Barr, J. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Scrymgeour, E.
Batty, Joseph John, William (Rhondda, West) Scurr, John
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Smith, Rennie (penistone)
Bondfield, Margaret Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stamford, T. W.
Briant, Frank Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Stephen, Campbell
Bromley, J Kelly, W. T. Sullivan, J.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kennedy, T. Sutton, J. E.
Buchanan, G. Kirkwood, D. Taylor, R. A.
Cape, Thomas Lansbury, George Thurtle, Ernest
Charleton, H. C. Lawrence, Susan Tinker, John Joseph
Cluse, W. S. Lawson, John James Viant, S. P.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Lee, F. Wallhead, Richard C.
Connolly, M. Lindley, F. W. Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Cove, w. G. Lowth, T. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Welsh, J. C.
Day, Colonel Harry MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon) Westwood, J.
Dennison, R. MacLaren, Andrew Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Duncan, C. Maclean. Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Windsor, Walter
Dunnico, H. March, S. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Gardner, J. P. Maxton, James
Gibbins, Joseph Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gillett, George M. Murnln, H. Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Naylor, T. E. Charles Edwards.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Oliver, George Harold
Acland-Troyte, Lieut. -Colonel Glyn, Major R. G. C. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Ainsworth, Major Charles Goff, Sir Park Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Albery, Irving James Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Pennefather, Sir John
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Greene, W. P. Crawford Perkins. Colonel E. K.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Grotrian, H. Brent Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Atholl, Duchess of Gunston, Captain D. W. Power, Sir John Cecil
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Price, Major C. W. M.
Balfour, George (Kampstead) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Radford, E. A.
Barrett, Major Sir Richard Kail. Capt. W. D A. (Brecon & Rad.) Raine, W.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Ramsden, E.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Harmon. Patrick Joseph Henry Remer, J. R.
Berry, Sir George Harland. A. Rentoul, G. S.
Betterton, Henry B. Harrison, G. J. C. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Hartington, Marquess of Rice, Sir Frederick
Blundell. F. N. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Ropner, Major L.
Boothby, R. J. G. Haslam, Henry C. Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Hawke, John Anthony Russell, Alexander West (Tynemeuth)
Braithwalte. A. N. Head lam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Rye, F. G.
Brass. Captain W. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Samuel. Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Sandeman, A. Stewart
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Sandon, Lord
Buckingham. Sir H. Herbert, S. (York, N. R. Scar. & Wh'by Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'f, Exchange)
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Hills, Major John Waller Shaw, Capt. Walter (Wilts, Westb'y)
Burman, J. B. Kore-Belisha, Leslie Shepperson, E. W.
Burton. Colonel H. W. Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Caine, Gordon Hall Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney. N.) Smithers, Waldron
Campbell. E. T. Hudson, R.S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Carver, W. H. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Cazalet. Captain Victor A. Hurst, Gerald B. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Iliffe. Sir Edward M. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. N.(Ladywood) Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Chapman, Sir S. Jacob, A. E. Storry-Deans, R.
Charteris. Brigadier-General J. James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Streatfield, Captain S. R.
Clarry, Reginald George Jones. G- W. H. (Stoke Newington) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Clayton, G. C. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Cobb. Sir Cyril Kidd. J. (Linlithgow) Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Cochrane. Commander Hon. A. D. King. Captain Henry Douglas Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Cooper, A. Duff Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell
Craik. Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Knox. Sir Alfred Tinne, J. A.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Lister. Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Tryon, Rt. Hon, George Clement
Cunon. Captain Viscount Little, Dr. E. Graham Waddlngton, R.
Dalkeith, Earl of Loder, J. de V. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Davidson. J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Lord, Walter Greaves Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston on-Hull)
Davies, Dr. Vernon, Lougher. L. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Luce. Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Waterhouse. Captain Charles
Dixey, A. C. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Watson. Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Drewe. C. MacIntyre, Ian Watts. Dr. T.
Edmondson, Major A. J. McLean, Major A. Wells, S. R.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) McNeill. Rt. Hon. Ronald John Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Elliot. Major Walter E. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel White, Lieut. Col. Sir G. Dairymple
Erskine. Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Willian's. Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Everard. W. Lindsay Malone, Major P. B. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K. Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Merriman, F. B. Wise, Sir Fredric
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Meyer. Sir Frank Withers, John James
Fermoy, Lord Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Womersley, W. J.
Fielden, E. B. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Foster, Sir Harry S. Moore, Sir Newton J. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Fremantle. Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Morris, R. H. Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Gadie, Lieut.-Colonel Anthony Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Galbraith, J. F. W. Murchison, C. K TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ganzoni Sir John Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Major Cope and Captain Mar
Gibbs. Col. Kt. Hon. George Abraham Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert gesson.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh

Question put, and agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 4. line 18, after the word "Railways," to insert the words" other than the Kenya Uganda Railway."

I think that, if I had had any reply when I spoke on this question during the Debate on the Financial Resolution, I should not have tabled this Amendment, but I find that it is rather difficult for a back-bencher to receive replies when he discusses finance. I have been anxious that this railway should develop, but I am also anxious that it should be a wise development, and that the credit of this country should be protected. Early this year I asked the Colonial Secretary a question as to the profits of this railway, and was informed in reply that the net earnings in 1923 were £415,000, in 1924, 2756,000; and in 1925, £778,000; and the Colonial Secretary stated in his speech the other day that the surplus in 1925 was £903,000. I am most anxious to protect the credit of this country, and this again is giving away the credit of this country quite unnecessarily; it is the taxpayers' guarantee, and, unless we in this House protect the taxpayers' guarantee and the taxpayers' credit, one cannot say what may happen to this country as regards finance. One must also remember that this railway received £3,500,000 in 1924, free of interest for five years. That is equal to a gift of nearly £1,000,000. I contend that to give capital without any interest is not business, and is not to the benefit of the taxpayers of this country or of the credit of this country. The hon. Member for Blackburn (Sir S. Henn), who is, I think, now on his way back from Australia, and who knows the country quite well, said in a speech in July: What need is there to give a Government guarantee in the case of a railway which is paying its way? That practically puts my point into a nutshell, and I sincerely hope that the Colonial Secretary will consider this matter from a, business point of view, and from the point of view of protecting the credit of the country.


The considerations which prompted my hon. Friend to move this Amendment were naturally present to my own mind, and were carefully examined from the business point of view by the Schuster Committee. The surplus of the Kenya-Uganda Railway is to be applied to the renewal and betterment of the line, but what they need in the first instance is a very large-scale re-equipment, including re-grading, to deal with the bottle-neck single line which intervenes between the growing development of Uganda and the coast, and, after considering this matter, the Schuster Committee did suggest that £400,000 towards this re-equipment might come from the Renewal and Betterment Fund, and might be withdrawn from other purposes of renewal and betterment for which it would have been used. Whether that view will be finally endorsed by them after further consideration in the light of the views of the Kenya railway authorities, I do not know, but in any case the Schuster Committee started from the same point of view as my hon. Friend, and they did consider that the sum of £1,400,000 should be allocated to this railway. This railway is not a single unit; it is part of a system going right through the most fertile part of Africa—right across Uganda to the Nile—and new capital is needed all the time. It would be quite impossible, out of the Renewal and Betterment Fund, to carry out the present extension which is being built, and still less to carry out a further extension right across Uganda, which is one of the things which we regard as most hopeful, and which is so regarded by the Schuster Committee.


What do other railways do?


There is a great difference between the conditions of railways in a densely populated country like this and in a new country which we all agree it is to our interest to develop. Really, I have very little patience with the attitude of my hon. Friend on the question of the credit of this country. The credit of this country depends on its trade and production, and the measures we are taking in giving such slight contingent support as our guarantee gives will undoubtedly strengthen the trade and production of this country, and in that way will strengthen instead of weakening our financial position. In any case, these extensions are mostly in Uganda, and very little will be asked of the Kenya Government. Therefore, I could not possibly accept this Amendment, which would mean taking out of the scheme some of its fruitful and valuable items

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, in page 4, line 24, to leave out the words "including the raising of the loans."

This is a purely technical Amendment to enable me to implement a promise I gave a few minutes ago. I undertook, at the desire of the other side of the House, that certain words covering conditions of labour in the construction of public works should be inserted in another place, forgetting at the moment that this, being a money Bill, is not susceptible of Amendment in another place. I therefore move these words to enable the matter to come up on Report, so that I can then introduce an Amendment which will meet the view of hon. Members opposite.

Captain BENN

I think the Committee is indebted to the right hon. Gentleman, apart from the merits of the Amendment, for observing the procedure, because there is a certain objection taken to this argument that we shall avoid this or that stage of the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed: "That the Schedule, as amended, he the Second Schedule of the Bill "


I wish to draw attention to paragraph 3 dealing with research. We have had a good deal of discussion on this subject, but I should like to have some further assurance as to what is the intention in this direction. In former remarks on this subject I drew attention to this innovation and I think the whole House is very glad to see that for the first time in a Bill of this character money for research has been definitely allocated. I am sorry to see such an important and welcome departure as that inserted in a parenthesis. I think it deserves separate and distinct mention. I want, however, to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he can give us any idea as to the proportion to be spent on work of that character, as compared with the general kind of work for railways and harbours. In particular I should like to know which of those schemes which have been already indicated in the Schuster Report are definitely under consideration and whether £39,000 is the figure he has in his mind, or some higher figure. It would be a great help to those who are working in this direction if a definite undertaking could be given.

I do not know whether he would require some figure to he suggested. I should be prepared to suggest that 6 per cent. or 7 per cent. of the total loan might be definitely allocated in advance for research and educational purposes. I need not remind him how great the need is from a purely commercial point of view, from the point of view of developing the undertaking, that there should be generous spending on the side of education and research. Indeed, the more one considers the backward state of the natives from a purely industrial point of view, in respect of their lack of education, diseases and other disabilities from which they suffer, the greater becomes the claim upon the House to make a progressively larger grant in recognising this principle of a loan being made for research purposes. I have referred to Kenya, where only one out of every 174 children of 'School age is getting any kind of Schooling. If you take Uganda, where there are something like 640,000 children of School age, there are, according to the 1922 Report, only 157,000—less than a quarter—getting any kind of Schooling, and of these practically 140,000 are going to little schools where the kind of education given is of an exceedingly poor quality. Uganda, above all the other East African States, compares most favourably in respect of its remarkable economic development in the course of the last few years. Even there, where there is money available wholly for educational purposes, it was possible for the Phelps-Stokes Commission to report: With all the wealth of agricultural resources in the Protectorate, there is not a single agricultural School to prepare the natives to take advantage of their wealth. The few institutions that give any attention whatever to the subject are negligible. The teaching of hygiene is poor and limited. Nature study and physical science are almost entirely neglected. If you take Tanganyika, in which, being a mandated territory, we ought to be more than ordinarily sensitive about the educational claims made for the natives, where there are something like 800,000 children of School age, the whole of the Government provision at the time they reported was limited to something like 3,000 native boys and girls. The same Report points out that education for girls and women has hardly yet begun, that in three out of the five districts to which it is proposed to apply these loans it is very generally admitted that so far as the education of the natives is concerned very little has been done, that the major portion of the work has yet to he undertaken, and the chief reason why schools are not built and the capital outlay is not made for this fundamental enterprise, even from a, commercial point of view, is that they have not got the money to do it. When we pass away from the rudimentary beginnings of education and come to deal with what in this country is called higher education, the Report is even worse, if anything.

I gather from the Phelps-Stokes Report that there is hardly anything in the nature of a college south of the Sahara until one gets into South Africa. So far as the education of the natives is concerned, you cannot even speak of the beginnings of what we describe as secondary education in the area we have been discussing in the past week or two. Over and above all that, the question of research into tropical diseases and the health and welfare of the natives, the question of matters affecting the best way of producing cotton and coffee, and how the natives themselves can be gathered into collective enterprises of that kind, all that kind of work is really in the first stages of its development. Therefore I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman before we allow the Bill to pass from the Committee stage whether he will not say definitely, agreeing as we all do that it is greatly to his credit that he has introduced this principle of granting loans for purely research work, that he intends a very considerable portion of the money purely for commercial reasons as well as from the broader humanitarian point of view, to be spent for this purpose, and if he would say how much, the Committee will receive the information with appreciation and enthusiasm.


I certainly can give the hon. Member the assurance that here ht this end we are genuinely anxious that the item of research out of this loan should be a really substantial one. I quite agree that NI e ought not to read the word "research" in a narrow sense. We certainly contemplate encouraging the Governments out there to develop research on a far larger scale than has ever been thought possible hitherto. There is the agricultural research institution at Amami, a veterinary research station, a medical research station, and a special inquiry into the tsetse fly. These matters play a very great part in the health question there. I also mentioned a little earlier that we have under consideration proposals from the Governor of Kenya on a very considerable scale, amounting to something like £100,000, for research, which deal not merely with medical and scientific research, but human research, such as investigation into the needs, the social habits, and the needs of the natives educationally, very much on the lines of investigation which the hon. Member would welcome. We ought to encourage the Government to enter into further negotiations with each other.

Although it is impossible at this stage to give a definite figure, I can give the hon. Member this assurance that the figure, whatever it may be, will be much nearer £200,000 than the. £39,000 origiNally mentioned in the Schuster Committee's Report. On the subject of the educational system in tropical Africa, it, was because we realised its deficiency that, we sent out the Phelps Stokes Commission three years ago. We have done a good deal since then to improve things, and we certainly mean to go on in the same way.

Bill reported, with an Amendment; as amended, to he considered To-morrow.