HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1389-90
64. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement regarding recent demonstrations of protest by soldiers' wives and others to the District Commissioners at Famagusta and Nicosia, Cyprus, regarding the high cost of living and inadequacy of clothing and other supplies; and what steps are being taken to meet the position.

Colonel Stanley

As the answer is necessarily rather long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Mathers

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the proposition that I made to him on a previous occasion that he should send someone to Cyprus to go into these matters on the spot?

Colonel Stanley

I think I can only return the answer that I gave on the previous occasion.

Following is the answer:

There were minor demonstrations in Famagusta on 29th June and Nicosia on 3rd and 24th July at which complaint was made regarding the allowances payable to soldiers' families and the distribution of clothing and other controlled supplies. It has also been alleged that a greater variety of clothing has been given to town people than to villagers. The Commissioner at Nicosia received a committee representing soldiers' wives to discuss these matters on 28th July.

As regards allowances to soldiers' families, the ultimate responsibility rests with the War Office. But the Governor appointed a Committee some time ago to report on the whole question of allowances to Cypriot troops. The Committee's report and the Governor's recommendations have not yet reached me but they are expected very shortly, when they will receive immediate consideration in consultation with the War Office.

Clothing and other controlled commodities are in general distributed in the towns by the municipalities, and in the villages by co-operative societies or village authorities. The Governor reports that on the whole the organisation is working satisfactorily. Villagers receive the same ration of clothing as town people, but the variety in the villages is more limited since the supplies of certain types of cloth, such as silk and cashmere, are insufficient for a full distribution. A further general distribution of approximately 2,000,000 yards of cloth will be made in September.