HC Deb 08 March 1944 vol 397 cc2035-6
29. Mr. S. O. Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now consider the removal of racial discrimination in the payment of salaries in the professions in West Africa, particularly in view of the fact that the development of these Colonies will largely depend upon increasing numbers of Africans qualifying for posts in these professions.

Colonel Stanley

I do not accept the suggestion that there is racial discrimination in West African salaries. The differentiation that exists is based on the factor of expatriation which affects staff recruited from outside West Africa. The question of salary relationship in West Africa is now under consideration and I am proposing that a senior member of the staff of the Colonial Office should visit West Africa in the early summer so as to acquaint himself with local conditions and to discuss the whole subject with the Resident Minister and with the Governors. I agree with my hon. Friend as to the importance of stimulating and encouraging the staffing of the Colonial public services by the people of the Colonies themselves and I emphasised this in the House last July when speaking on the Colonial Office Estimates.

Mr. Davies

Is the Minister tackling this serious problem now, in view of the fact that we cannot encourage Colonials to prepare for professional and administrative posts unless they are treated in the same way as others similarly qualified?

Colonel Stanley

I agree that it is a most important problem. I want to press on with it as soon as I can.

Mr. Sorensen

If no discrimination or disparity exists, why has any investigation been made?

Colonel Stanley

I do not say that there is no difference between salaries but there is no racial discrimination. The people who go from this country and leave their families incur much heavier expenses than people who are recruited on the spot.