HC Deb 13 May 1958 vol 588 cc210-1
38. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the cost of living has risen in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia since 1953; and to what extent he estimates that this is due to an increase in customs duties and the removal of subsidies, respectively, by the Federal Government.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The cost of living for Europeans in Northern Rhodesia has risen by 17.3 per cent. since 1953. Figures are not available for Africans or generally for Nyasaland. There has been little increase in prices due to the removal of subsidies or increases in duties in Northern Rhodesia and none in Nyasaland.

Mrs. Castle

Is not it a fact that there has been a whole series of measures resulting in an increase in the cost of living, such as increased postal charges as well as increases in customs duties and the removal of subsidies? Is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman to give an exact estimate of the effect which this has had on African standards, because there is a widespread belief inside the Territory that this has helped to remove from the Africans some of the economic benefits supposed to come from Federation?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I hope the hon. Lady will do her best to dispel any such erroneous belief. Of the increase in the cost of living of 17.3 per cent., only 2.3 per cent. is due to increased duties on imported foodstuffs. As for her remarks about the removal of subsidies, there were no subsidies to remove.