HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1748-9
42. Mr. Donner

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the inability of the Land Bank in Kenya to lend at a low rate of interest and the consequent departure of settlers from their holdings and the abandonment of thousands of acres in the Colony; and whether he will consider measures to provide agricultural credit commensurate with the requirements of the situation by placing Kenya, in respect of Land Bank assistance, in the same position as other overseas agricultural countries, particularly in view of the scale of present agricultural indebtedness, which, for white settlers alone, is already estimated at £4,000,000?

Mr. MacDonald

I do not agree that the rate of interest on loans charged by the Land Bank is the cause of the departure of settlers from their holdings. The present capital of the Kenya Land Bank is £750,000. I am considering whether there is any justification for making a larger sum available.

Mr. Paling

If it be the fact that, as stated in the question, thousands of settlers are leaving their holdings, is there any reason to evict native landholders as evidenced in connection with the last question?

Mr. MacDonald

I have no evidence of any large-scale abandonment of holdings in Kenya, though there has been some, owing to the poor price of coffee.

Mr. Riley

Is any alternative provision being made for those settlers who are leaving their holdings?

Mr. MacDonald

I should require notice of that question.

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