HC Deb 24 January 1947 vol 432 cc545-6

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 69.

[Major MILNER in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to assist the government of Malta to meet their liabilities for war damage and other expenses, and for purposes connected therewith, it is expedient to authorise—

  1. (a) a sum of twenty million pounds to be charged on and issued out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom towards the expenses incurred or to be incurred by the government of Malta in respect of war damage and for other purposes specified in the said Act;
  2. (b) the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any sums required by the Secretary of State for the purposes of schemes made by him under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, 1940 and 1945, by reason of any provision in the said Act of the present Session applying those Acts to Malta notwithstanding its possession at any time of responsible government;
  3. (c)the payment into the Exchequer of any sums received by the Secretary of State by way of interest on or repayment of the principal of any loan made in pursuance of any scheme under section one of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, as applied to Malta as aforesaid."— (King's Recommendation signified.)—[Mr. Creech Jones.]

2.31 p.m.

Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)

I have indicated to the Financial Secretary that, if it is possible, I should like an answer today as to whether the goods exported for the purpose of reconstruction in Malta come under the general list of exports. In this case they are a gift, in the same way as goods which come in under U.N.R.R.A., and I should like to know if they are definitely included in the total amount of exports, because if they are, they are not necessarily balanced by imports.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)

They will, of course, appear, when and if they are exported from this country, in the trade returns, as exports. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the use of this money by Malta will be spread over a large number of years, and that not all the materials for which this money will be used will come from this country. In fact, a lot of it may not be spent upon materials at all, but in other ways. Goods and material exported from this country will not be left out of the trade returns because the destination is Malta. Although the hon. Gentleman described these as a gift, in actual fact these things will probably not be sent by the Government, but by private exporters, who will, of course, receive payment.

Mr. Williams

In formally thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, so far as I am concerned, the larger the proportion of this money which is spent on goods in this country the better I shall like it.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.—[Mr. Michael Stewart.]