HC Deb 09 October 1946 vol 427 cc171-2
13. Sir Peter Macdonald

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are to be the composition and functions of the recently appointed Colonial Economic and Development Council; what are its terms of reference and to whom the Council is to be responsible.

Mr. Creech Jones

The members of the Council so far appointed are Lord Portal (of Laverstoke) as chairman, Mr. J. Ben-stead, Sir Bernard Bourdillon, Sir Graham Cunningham, Sir William Goodenough and Sir Drummond Shiels. I have one or two other appointments in contemplation and hope to announce their names shortly.

The Council's terms of reference are: To advise the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the framing and subsequent review of plans for economic and social development in the Colonial Empire and on questions of general economic and financial policy. The functions of the Council are shown by these terms of reference. It will be responsible to me.

Major Cecil Poole

Why does my right hon. Friend assume that the Chairman of the Great Western Railway, the Chairman of Barclay's Bank and the Chairman of the Shipbuilding Advisory Council are the people most likely to advise the Government as to a correct solution of the problem?

Mr. Creech Jones

I anticipated that criticism, and I think we may be assured that Lord Portal is most anxious to render the best possible service he can.

Major Legge-Bourke

Is any consideration being given by this Council to the aspect of defence?

Mr. Creech Jones

That is not within the field of consideration of this particular Council.

Sir P. Macdonald

Can we be told whether these members are permanent members, how often they are to meet and if they are to serve in an advisory capacity?

Mr. Creech Jones

Their powers are advisory, they are not permanent employees, and the Council will meet as frequently as business demands.