HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1273-4
36. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that more than £l½ million will be required to make good the loss and damage caused by the earthquake in Cyprus last September; that this sum will have to be taken from that island's general reserve fund unless help is forth-coming from Her Majesty's Treasury; that such a strain on the island's financial resources will retard its necessary economic development; that this is undesirable at the present time; and what steps he proposes to take to assist the island financially.

Mr. Lyttelton

With the help of the grant of £500,000 which Her Majesty's Government are making towards the costs of reconstruction after the earth-quake, the Cyprus Government will have sufficient resources to complete their current 10-year development programme for the period up to 1956.

Mr. Hughes

I thank the Minister for that answer, but does he agree that so long as we remain responsible for Cyprus it is desirable to give it such aid as is possible, especially now, for not only economic but also political reasons?

Mr. Lyttelton

As I told the hon. and learned Gentleman, we have already made a grant of £500,000, plus all the cost of the aid in kind provided by the Services. There is no evidence that the effects of the earthquake have retarded the development programme. Very shortly we shall be considering the Colonial Development and Welfare Act in relation to all these Colonial Territories.

Mr. Dugdale

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that Cyprus will have at least as favourable treatment as any other Colony suffering a national disaster?

Mr. Lyttelton

We have already dealt with that. I must leave the right hon. Gentleman to judge of the generosity of the £500,000 which we have granted.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Is it not a fact that Cyprus is more prosperous today than it has ever been?