HC Deb 08 October 1941 vol 374 cc975-6
34. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies what schemes have been submitted to, and recommended by, Sir Frank Stockdale, as Comptroller in the West Indies; and whether any report will be made available to Parliament?

Mr. George Hall

As this Question presents a convenient opportunity for describing for the information of hon. Members the procedure followed by the organisation of the Comptroller for Development and Welfare in the West Indies, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The functions of the Comptroller for Development and Welfare in the West Indies are not confined to the scrutiny of schemes submitted to him by Colonial Governments. The normal procedure (which is capable of variation as circumstances require) is that, after visiting a Colony or group of Colonies, the Comptroller presents to the Governors of the Colonies concerned the results of his investigations in the shape of preliminary surveys with particular reference to the kind of projects for which he would be prepared to recommend assistance from United Kingdom funds. Copies of these surveys are at the same time sent to the Secretary of State. In cases where, as a result of these preliminary surveys, concrete proposals emerge, which can be considered on their merits without relation to other matters not yet ripe for consideration, applications for assistance under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, are made to the Secretary of State either by the Comptroller, in the case of proposals of general application, or by the Colonial Government concerned. In the latter case, the Comptroller is given an opportunity to comment by telegraph on the applications. The applications are finally considered by the Colonial Office in consultation with the Treasury.

Most of the proposals for assistance are as yet in the preliminary stage, but 61 concrete schemes have been submitted, which deal in the main with agriculture and public health in the Colonies first visited by the Comptroller. Of these, 15 have been approved, and the remainder, which are constantly being added to, are either under consideration in consultation with the Treasury or are the subject of certain necessary further preliminary inquiries. The Comptroller and his staff will shortly begin a second tour of the West Indies, in the course of which some of his proposals hitherto tentative will doubtless be taken further, and other proposals of general application prepared.

With regard to the last part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 1st October.