HC Deb 09 March 1955 vol 538 cc414-5
24. Sir R. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps have now been taken towards a common currency for the British West Indies.

Mr. Hopkinson

Territorial currency notes in the West Indies have been demonetised (except in Jamaica and British Honduras) and replaced by a uniform note issue. Orders have been placed for the minting of a uniform coinage. Preliminary steps have recently been taken to extend the uniform note issue to Jamaica, while retaining the pound sterling as the Jamaican unit of account.

Sir R. Robinson

What difficulties are preventing a final solution of the problem?

Mr. Hopkinson

The problem in Jamaica is well on the way to solution. It has been agreed that there shall be a uniform note, which shall carry the usual dollar West Indian currency on one side and the Jamaican pound sterling on the other.

Mr. Stokes

Will the right hon. Gentleman get away from the nonsensical jargon of the economists and say in plain English what he means by "demonetised"?

Mr. Hopkinson

I might ask the right hon. Gentleman what other word he would suggest for that? It means that the value of these particular currency

Territory Amount paid into sugar industry welfare funds Amount spent from funds on improved housing for sugar workers
1953 1954 1953 1954
£ £ £ £
Antigua 20,805 39,669 20,783 15,481
Barbados 384,522 210,656 120,592 142,180
British Guiana (a) 700,114 128,546 168,341 347,588
British Honduras (b) Nil 452 Nil Nil
Jamaica 50,166 62,562 22,471 10,344
St. Kitts-Nevis 54,487 61,430 100,531 67,495
St. Lucia 6,481 13,065 4,565 4,659
St. Vincent 1,502 556 Nil Nil
Trinidad 61,940 76,632 180,141 143,584
Total 1,280,017 593,568 617,424 731,331
(a) Includes £487,166 transferred from other sugar funds.
(b) A Labour Welfare Fund has only recently been set up in British Honduras.