HC Deb 28 April 1948 vol 450 cc379-80
18. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on Government policy with regard to the setting up of a colonial economic planning board to consider, in broad outline and in detail, plans for the economic development of the whole of the British Empire and to supplement the Colonial Development scheme, which is necessarily only a small proportion of the whole economic planning required.

Mr. Mayhew

It is not thought necessary or appropriate to create any new central planning board of precisely the character suggested, but, following upon the recent strengthening of the Economic Division of the Colonial Office and the creation of the Colonial Development Corporation and the Overseas Food Corporation, my right hon. Friend has reconstituted the Colonal Economic and Development Council to advise him on matters affecting the whole development of the dependent territories for which His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom is responsible. The Council has been reorganised in order to bring it into closer relationship with the officials of the Colonal Office, with the Secretary of State's Advisory Committees on special subjects, with the new Corporations and with those in other Departments of His Majesty's Government concerned with the investment and development policy of the United Kingdom itself.

Mr. Cooper

Does my hon. Friend think that this organisation which has now come into being will be adequate to this task? Does he realise that the economic planning section of the Lord President's Office is devoting itself to the organisation of a plan for this country, and is it not equally important that a similar organisation should be set up to study the problem for the British Commonwealth?

Mr. Mayhew

I do not think that is a precise analogy, and I doubt very much whether we need an organisation of the precise character suggested by my hon. Friend. At the same time, I know that my right hon. Friend will make a fuller statement on this on his return, and perhaps we can wait until then.

Sir Arthur Salter

In view of the restricted limits of capital exports from this country, could the Colonial Office consider how to encourage the participation of foreign investments in British colonial development?

Mr. Mayhew

That is another question.

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