HC Deb 13 July 1955 vol 543 cc1923-4
32. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that there is unemployment in Jamaica; that this unemployment has caused large emigration from that island; and his present plans for dealing with this problem.

Mr. Hopkinson

My right hon. Friend told the hon. Member on 16th February that it is a regrettable fact that there is considerable unemployment and under-employment in Jamaica, and I am aware that this is one of the causes of emigration. The Jamaica Government is continuing its efforts to expand production and employment, and Jamaican Ministers intend to give priority to economic development, particularly in agriculture. They are at present reviewing a new five-year development programme, prepared last year by their predecessors.

As hon. Members will know, an allocation of £3 million has been made to Jamaica under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1955, to help financially with this programme. Mr. Nethersole, the Jamaican Minister of Finance, discussed other sources of finance with my right hon. Friend last month.

Mr. Hughes

While thanking the Minister for that long and detailed reply, may I ask him whether he has taken the opportunity of discussing these problems with Mr. Manley, who has visited this country twice since the Minister gave me that answer in February; and, if so, with what results?

Mr. Hopkinson

My right hon. Friend has had a number of discussions with Mr. Manley, whom we are very glad to welcome back in this country. The major part of them concerned matters affecting the citrus and banana industries which are, of course, among the agricultural products which we hope to continue to develop in the territory.

Mr. Tilney

Does my right hon. Friend agree that unemployment is likely to continue unless capital investment can be stimulated in both agriculture and light industry? Is he aware that the financial incentive of tax-free holidays granted by the Government of Jamaica does not accrue to companies registered in this country? Would he bring that to the attention of our right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Hopkinson

The points which my hon. Friend has raised have already been considered in the House on previous occasions, and they are constantly under consideration in the Colonial Office.

Mr. Woodburn

Has the right hon. Gentleman any knowledge of the allegations that there are tourist rackets inducing poor people in Jamaica to come to this country under false pretences? Is anything done to give the people information about the facts before they part with their money to come over to this country?

Mr. Hopkinson

Yes, Sir. We have heard rumours of that kind and the Chief Minister of Jamaica has recently told us that he has that question very much under watch in the Colony itself.