HC Deb 21 October 1942 vol 383 cc1958-9
34. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what services the Nigerian Properties, Limited, will perform for the royalties of £228,000 in the current year on tin-mines in Northern Nigeria; whether the extra royalty payments will be returned to the Nigerian Treasury by the company as sums arising from the war and be earmarked for African welfare services; and whether he is satisfied that the wage rate of Africans in forced labour of 2s. 6d. per week for a six-day task with rations and fuel, and of 5s. 6d. per week without rations and fuel, is in accordance with the policy of raising African standards of living?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

As I informed my hon. Friend in reply to his Question on 14th October, the payment of half the total royalties is one of the conditions of the revocation of the Charter of the Royal Niger Company. Since the life of the mines is limited, the increased demand for tin for war purposes means that payments are accelerated which would normally be spread over a longer period. As regards the last part of the Question, I do not think that I can usefully add anything to what I stated in reply to my hon. Friend's Question on 22nd July, except to say that the wage position is under constant review.

Mr. Creech Jones

Could representations be made to this company that these additional profits and royalties arising out of the war should now be returned to the native Treasuries for welfare purposes, and will he also consider whether wage determination could be based on the needs of the people and not on the lowest standard wages that are paid in this area?

Mr. Macmillan

In reply to the first part of the hon. Member's Supplementary Question, I think my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have something to say about it. As regards the second part of the Supplementary Question, as my hon. Friend well knows, the problems of a war economy, where the totality of consumption goods is fixed and cannot be increased, are not met merely by raising money wages.

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