HC Deb 25 June 1941 vol 372 cc1021-2
8. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether the sum of £296,000 to be contributed by the Northern Rhodesian Government to the British Exchequer in 1941 can be treated as a trust fund for the economic and social development of the territory in the interest of the African people; and whether more funds can be made available for campaigning against the tsetse fly, disease, soil erosion and other ills that affect the African people?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. George Hall)

The acceptance by His Majesty's Government of this generous gift will not prejudice the funds available to the Government of Northern Rhodesia for the development of social services. In this connection I would invite my hon. Friend's attention to the reply which I gave to his Question of 11th December, 1940, in which it was stated that it had been decided to proceed in 1941 with the full programme envisaged under the five-year plan. Progress is, however, dependent not so much upon the availability of funds as upon the supply of personnel and materials. I may add that, in addition to making full provision for the five-year plan, it is estimated that by the end of the year the territory's surplus assets and the reserve fund will amount to nearly £1,600,000.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will my hon. Friend give special attention to this aspect of Colonial finance, as it is vitally important; and are steps being taken to build up reserves rather than to dissipate them, particularly in the case of Colonies for whose products the demand is likely to slump after the war, and where the social services at the present time are in a very rudimentary form?

Mr. Hall

In the case of Northern Rhodesia, the surplus has been doubled during the last two years.