§ 23 and 24. Mr. T. WILLIAMS
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether, in view of the lack of contact between the authorities and the natives which was shown by the recent troubles in the copper belt of Northern Rhodesia, he will take steps to reinforce the staff of district officers;
(2) whether he can explain the reduction in the number of district officers in Northern Rhodesia from 124 in 1931 and 1932 to 97 in 1933; and whether he can state the number in 1934?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
In view of a serious contraction in the revenues of the Northern Rhodesian Government due to the world slump and in particular to the depression in the mining industry, a Finance Commission was appointed in 1932 to inquire into means of increasing revenue and reducing expenditure. It recommended inter alia that an economy should be effected by a reduction in the number of the Administrative Provinces. The Governor reduced the number of Provinces from nine to five, and was consequently able to cut down the establishment of Provincial Commissioners, District Officers and Cadets. The Administrative Staff of the Territory, 1081 which numbered 110 at the beginning of the year 1932, had been reduced to 90 in 1933, and still remains at that strength. I would remind the hon. Member that a Commission has been appointed to inquire into the circumstances attending the recent disturbances and the causes which gave rise to them. When the Commission has reported, it will be possible to consider in the light of their report whether the administrative staff is, as he suggests, inadequate.
§ Mr. M. MacDONALD
As my predecessor explained to the House on 3rd June, the object of the recent change in the incidence of native poll tax in Northern Rhodesia was to graduate the tax, decreasing it in areas where the natives are poor and have little or no opportunity of industrial employment, and increasing it only where they have such employment and where more prosperous conditions prevail. The result has in fact been a reduction rather than an increase in the total assessment to native tax. The question of a corresponding increase in the taxation of Europeans therefore does not arise.