Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £7,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1949, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies and the salary of the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs.—[Mr. Rees-Williams.]
§ 9.50 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Rees-Williams)
The purpose of this Supplementary Estimate is to cover expenditure on "Travelling and incidental expenses," due to the increase in travelling by the Colonial Office staff, and the members of advisory and other committees which have been a feature of my right hon. Friend's administration. The increases are in part due to the higher cost of travelling and railway fares, and also to an increase in the amount of subsistence allowances. The item "Advisory and other posts abroad" relates to expenses of the organisation for Closer Union and Development of Welfare in the West Indies which as a result of my right hon. Friend's policy was extended to its present form, in May, 1948, and to outstanding charges for post-war recruitment for the Colonial service in the 1463 Middle and Far East. These items are offset by a saving, or an anticipated saving, under the subhead of the Directorate of Colonial Surveys.
I understand that the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) desires to put some questions concerning this Vote. Perhaps, therefore, I may be permitted to speak a second time to answer any questions which he raises.
§ 9.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd (Mid-Bedford)
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman in asking for this Supplementary Vote did not use the argument that mounting expenditure is proof of administrative success. I am glad, too, that we have passed into the comparatively harmonious waters of Colonial administration. We are very pleased if the Secretary of State and his officers travel around the Empire. The more they travel, the better for the Empire and, incidentally, the better for themselves. In fairness to the Government I think, looking at the history of the past year, that they have fairly well covered the Colonial Empire. There is one conspicuous exception, however—Northern Rhodesia. I think I am right in saying that none of our three Ministers has visited Northern Rhodesia. The charge, in fact, is made a general one by my belief that no Minister has, in fact, been in Northern Rhodesia since 1924. In view of the talks on federation between Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, of which we have lately been hearing with interest, and the prospect of a Central African Federation emerging, I hope that this deficiency will be remedied.
I should not be in Order in commenting upon the way in which money has been saved, because we are not allowed, on Supplementary Estimates, to discuss savings, but I say in passing that I wish it had not been achieved at the expense of that Colonial survey without which we can never properly develop the Empire. We have very few further points, at least I personally have, in regard to this Vote, but the next and subsequent Votes raise matters of great importance to our Colonial fellow subjects. Tens of millions of people are interested in the decision this House will reach on the further Votes. I think it would probably commend itself to everyone if it were possible 1464 to arrange that we do not start a discussion on further Votes at this late hour. If no other hon. Member has any further question to ask on this Vote, I think we should report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £7,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1949, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies and the salary of the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs.
§ To report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.—[Mr. Snow.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.
§ Resolutions to be reported Tomorrow.