HC Deb 10 December 1952 vol 509 c451
15. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the urgent need in Singapore to develop retail co-operatives to combat the rapidly increasing cost of living; and what development of co-operatives is planned by the Government of Singapore in 1952–53 from the budget of approximately £7,000.

Mr. Lyttelton

There is intense competition amongst traders in Singapore and the development of retail cooperatives is slow. At the end of 1951 there were four societies and two others are being formed. The Adviser on Cooperation is to visit Singapore early next year for discussions with the Governor.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that the amount allocated by the Government of Singapore for the development of the co-operatives works out at l½d. per head of the population per year? Does he think that this is adequate to develop societies of this character, which can do a great deal to prevent an increase in the cost of living?

Mr. Lyttelton

With regard to the second part of the Supplementary Question, I think that it would be doubtful to pitch it too high. The movement is weak and we shall try to stimulate it. I have every sympathy with the general object of the hon. Gentleman's Question.

Mr. Noel-Baker

While we are grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy, will he study the very remarkable results obtained in Ceylon by the cooperative movement and see if larger expenditure would not enable him to do the same kind of thing in Singapore?

Mr. Lyttelton

The conditions are quite different. We have to be very careful about the co-operative movement in Singapore.