HC Deb 10 June 1953 vol 516 cc206-8
29. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply has been made to the proposal of the Colonial Development Corporation that certain projects that are of great value, but unlikely to be commercially profitable, should be accounted for on a different basis from the other projects undertaken by the Corporation.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Oliver Lyttelton)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) on 20th May.

Mrs. White

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether any conversations have been held with the chairman or members of the Board on this subject; and if it is impossible to carry out these projects under existing legislation, according to the reply mentioned, have any other ideas occurred to Her Majesty's Government for carrying out agricultural settlement, for instance?

Mr. Lyttelton

The broad reply to the hon. Lady is that, where a proposition which has long-term benefit for the Colony is entirely uncommercial, it more properly comes under the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund.

36. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what discussions have taken place with Colonial Governments on the future of projects and establishments which have received assistance from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lyttelton

I hope to make a statement on the matter in the near future.

Mrs. White

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this matter is becoming one of considerable urgency, because many of the persons in charge of this project are unable either to recruit further staff or to retain staff they now have?

Mr. Lyttelton

I am aware that it is a matter of urgency, although I should not put it as high as the hon. Lady, because the present funds will not be spent by the end of the present Act, by 1956. I quite agree that it is urgent, and I hope to make a statement in the near future. There are a good many things involved in this—things for the House itself.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Has the right hon. Gentleman received representations, particularly about that part of the fund provided for long-term research, which is really urgently required?

Mr. Lyttelton

That is one of the reasons I have pressed on with this matter. Apart from research, I do regard it as a subject upon which the House should be given information at an early date.