HC Deb 06 March 1940 vol 358 cc371-2
38. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the present economic situation of St. Helena; and whether the circumstances of this community will be kept in view in the projected schemes of colonial development announced recently?

Mr. M. MacDonald

As the reply is long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Mr. Paling

Can the Minister say whether anything has been done to break the virtual monopoly of two members of the Council on this island of land and food imposts, which is supposed to be detrimental to the welfare of the workers?

Mr. MacDonald

There has been a considerable improvement in the island recently.

Mr. Mander

Can the Minister say whether any housing arrangements are being made for important visitors who might go for a prolonged stay in St. Helena?

Following is the reply:

Yes, Sir. I am able to say that the economic situation in St. Helena shows some improvement. With an increased demand for fibre owing to the war, more of the mills in the island have now reopened, and unemployment has decreased. The better price paid for this commodity has permitted a small increase in the basic rates of wage in the industry. Vigorous efforts are being made to increase the quantity of home-grown foodstuffs in the island. The lily bulb industry continues to make progress, and the growing of other cash crops by small growers is being fostered by the Government Agricultural Department, the strength of which has recently been increased. The grant of a sum of £2,500 has recently been sanctioned from the Colonial Development Fund for the improvement of stock and pasture land, and other agricultural needs. I can assure the hon. Member that the reply to the last part of his Question is in the affirmative.