HC Deb 23 February 1955 vol 537 cc1278-80
Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will, with permission, now answer Question No. 44.

As the House is aware, Her Majesty's Government made available this year £11½million to the Government of Kenya towards meeting the cost of the Emergency. As a result of economies coupled with improved revenues in Kenya, the actual figure of assistance drawn will be £11 million.

In consultation with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I have now reviewed Kenya's financial prospects for the forthcoming year. As far as can be foreseen, Emergency expenditure in 1955–56 is likely to be in the region of £16 million, towards which Kenya will be able to provide only £2 million from her own resources. Even if it should prove possible, as we all hope, to reduce the present scale of military operations during this period, a large part of the Emergency expenditure will still continue on such items as the police, closer administration and the work of rehabilitation.

Subject therefore to the approval of Parliament, Her Majesty's Government will be prepared to provide a further grant of £10 million and a further interest-free loan of £4 million to Kenya in the United Kingdom financial year 1955–56. This assistance will be called upon only to the extent that it proves to be needed and the Kenya Government will be expected to continue to take every practical step to increase their own revenues in order to meet their commitments.

Mr. Braine

Can my right hon. Friend say what proportion of the £14 million is likely to be spent on agricultural development in African areas, and, in view of the present shortage, whether special efforts will be made to help Kenya to recruit additional agricultural officers?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am very well aware of the need for agricultural development, and under the Swynnerton Plan a very large sum of United Kingdom money is being made available for African agriculture. The sum which I have been speaking about today is for the emergency, but by granting it the United Kingdom Government will, of course, release the revenues of Kenya herself for further development in Kenya.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Am I to understand that this will form part of a Supplementary Estimate in the near future, and that we shall have an opportunity of debating it? May I ask the Secretary of State if I understood him aright when he said that Kenya could not provide, out of its own resources, more than £2 million, and that we propose to give—and we all want to give—to help with the emergency and reconstruction £16 million? Will he consider again whether Kenya itself and her people are making their due contributions towards the cost of the emergency, in view of the still heavy burden placed upon us?

May I also ask him a further question? I am sure that all of us, including the Secretary of State, have been disturbed by the news which we have received from Kenya recently about confusion and divided counsels; and, indeed, it seems to us that large sections of the population are seeking to undermine the multi-racial Government which this House has recommended. Further, does he not think that the time has come when, either in this country or in Kenya, he should call together in conference representatives of all communities in order to ensure that in the days that lie ahead there is in Kenya a united leadership, without which the emergency can never be brought to an end? May I also ask him if he will give a little consideration to the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley)?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I should not be in order if I dealt at length with the last part of the supplementary question arising out of the statement which I have just made. In fairness to the taxpayers of Kenya and to the Europeans, among others, I must point out that in the April Budget in Kenya last year the taxation increases, of which by far the largest was the Income Tax increase, has enabled the Government of Kenya not to call upon the full assistance which we granted in 1954–55. Income Tax in Kenya at the highest rate is 16s. in the £. There are no free hospitals, no free educational services, and the Europeans themselves, who desperately need to attract more capital and manpower, have been in the front line for over two years.

Mr. Griffiths

May I repeat the second part of my supplementary question? Since an announcement is made about future help, I should have thought that the question I put was quite in order for the Secretary of State to answer.

Mr. Speaker

As I understand, the statement was merely about financial arrangements between the two countries, and I think that the matter which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned might well be the subject of a larger debate.

Mr. Bottomley

In the debate on Kenya last week, Mr. Speaker, I asked the Secretary of State to answer a particular question. Today, in a supplementary question, I again asked him for an answer and now that he refuses, quite rightly on finance, to answer the proposition, may I seek your guidance as to how it is possible to get an answer from the Secretary of State?

Mr. Speaker

I think that the answer to that question must be to advise the right hon. Gentleman to choose the right opportunity.

Mr. Alport

Will my right hon. Friend make available, before the debate on the Supplementary Estimate takes place, a calculation as to the relative incidence of direct and indirect taxation on the taxpayer in Kenya, compared with the taxpayer in this country, bearing in mind the value of the social services received by the taxpayer in this country?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will certainly look at that.