HC Deb 31 January 1939 vol 343 cc4-5
5. Mr. Lunn

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he has any information to give the House as to the position of affairs in Newfoundland?

Sir T. Inskip

As the House is aware, the past year has been one of economic difficulty in Newfoundland, chiefly owing to adverse conditions in the export markets for salt fish and newsprint. In order to counteract the decline in prices realised from the sale of cod-fish, steps have been taken by the Newfoundland Government to assist the marketing of fish and to lessen costs of production. These efforts have met with considerable success in maintaining the volume of employment in the fishing industry and the position of the country generally, but the reduced employment in the paper mills and in logging operations has resulted in an increase in the number of persons in receipt of relief during recent months as compared with 1937. The Newfoundland Government are proceeding as actively as possible with their general reconstruction programme, for which a considerable sum has been provided in their estimates for the current year.

Mr. Lunn

Are there more or fewer people on relief in Newfoundland to-day than there were a year ago? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when we can expect to have a report on the economic conditions of the people of Newfoundland?

Sir T. Inskip

I am not in a position to answer the last question. As to the first question, there are more people in receipt of relief now than last year, but fewer than the year before.

Mr. Muff

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the dire need of the native population on the Labrador coast, and is his Department taking any steps to alleviate the conditions?

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