HC Deb 30 May 1951 vol 488 cc206-7
30. Mr. Walter Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the report by the chairman of the Colonial Development Corporation and of the restrictive elements in the Finance Bill which will tend to stop investment in colonial development, what action he proposes to take to finance large scale new development in the Colonies and dependencies.

Mr. Cook

My right hon. Friend does not agree with the implication in the Question that the report of the Colonial Development Corporation necessitates reconsideration of the means of financing colonial development. However material its contribution, it has always been realised that the Corporation could not itself provide all the capital required to enable colonial development to proceed as rapidly as is desired. His Majesty's Government will continue to give the fullest consideration to the requirements of the Colonial Territories for such capital. As regards the reference to the Finance Bill I would invite attention to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Second Reading of the Bill.

Mr. W. Fletcher

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the statement made by his right hon. Friend does not in any way obviate the bad things that will arise from Clause 32 of the Finance Bill, which will get in the way of colonial development and of providing finance for that development?

Mr. Cook

That is a separate matter.

Mr. Peter Smithers

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that certain Colonies have granted an exemption from taxation for five years in order to encourage new business, and that under the Finance Bill as at present drafted any remission in the Colonies will be paid in Britain? Would he talk to the Chancellor about it?

Mr. Cook indicated assent.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Was the Secretary of State for the Colonies consulted before Clause 32 was put in the Finance Bill?

Mr. Cook

Yes, and he will be consulted further.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

In view of the very great importance of this matter, is it really a fact that the full implications of this Clause on investments in the British Colonial Empire were considered by his Department, and is the Under-Secretary prepared to amplify that during the Committee stage of the Bill?

Mr. Cook

That might be addressed to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. J. Hynd

Is it not the case that the need for the Colonial Development Corporation was the paucity of private investment in the Colonies long before the Clauses of this year's Finance Bill were introduced? Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the cancellation of those Clauses will ensure that sufficient private capital will be forthcoming to make the Colonial Development Act no longer necesssary?

Mr. Speaker

We had better not discuss the Finance Bill at Question Time.

Back to