§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 4.41 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I returned yesterday via Cyprus from a visit to Aden Colony and a tour of the Western and Eastern Aden Protectorates. Wherever I went in my Aden journeys I saw evidence of how development and welfare schemes are working and the urgent need for their rapid extension. It is certainly true that visits like the one which I have just concluded show up for Ministers in the most vivid way the value of legislation of this kind. There is no more agreeable task for a Secretary of State than to present to Parliament a Bill seeking fresh capital for colonial development. There can, I think, be few purposes for which Parliament is more ready to grant money.
We all recall the circumstances in which Parliament passed the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940. Many of us who were in the Forces at the time will remember that, and I happened to be on leave myself that very day. It was an act of faith in our ultimate victory in the Second World War. That Act was passed at a time of critical danger to the United Kingdom when few people outside these islands thought we would survive. In those days we were pioneering something which has now become an accepted doctrine of our time, the need to help underdeveloped countries to raise their living standards.
This is a world-wide problem in which this country plays its full part, but we feel, and I know the House feels, that the particular responsibility of this country in promoting the development of underdeveloped countries lies in the Commonwealth, and within the Commonwealth itself we have our very special responsibilities to the Colonies. There is no division of view about that, I think, between the parties in this House—though the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), who is to speak later, and whom I congratulate on what I think is her first appearance on the Front 61 Bench, will, no doubt, find a place here and there where she can exercise her experienced critical talents.
We in the United Kingdom can be proud of the magnitude of the efforts we have made so far. In the White Paper of 1957 on the Rôle of the United Kingdom in Commonwealth Development we said that over the years from 1953 to 1956 the United Kingdom average investment in the whole Commonwealth, with our financial assistance to the Colonies by way of grants-in-aid of administration or to assist with emergencies or natural disasters, was running at nearly £200 million a year. We pointed out that, set against the average of our gross national product in that period, this represented some 1¼ per cent., or, put another way, between 7 per cent. and 8 per cent. of our gross fixed investment at home. These figures related to the Commonwealth as a whole. Our estimate for the Colonies was that the flow of United Kingdom private funds for public capital purposes and of United Kingdom official funds for both capital and current purposes had been running at about £100 million a year.
At the very successful Commonwealth Trade and Economic Conference held some months ago at Montreal we announced a new type of Commonwealth assistance loan under the Export Guarantees Acts of 1949 and 1957 to assist in the economic development of the independent measures of the Commonwealth. We also at the same time announced our intention to introduce legislation to provide for a continuation of colonial development and welfare assistance to the Colonies and also—and this was a significant development—to provide a new system of Exchequer loans for the Colonies. This is the dual purpose of the present Bill, which is thus confined to assistance for the Colonies.
The question whether assistance should be given to a territory after it has become independent, a matter of very great importance, I recognise, raises separate issues of policy. The purpose of the present Bill is to continue a system of assistance which is designed to suit the particular relationship between the United Kingdom and Her Majesty's Government here and the Colonial Territories. As a system, a method, of helping a country it would not be appropriate for use in independent territories and, in 62 so far as assistance is given to independent Commonwealth territories, we have got to find other ways and means of giving this help.
For this reason Clause 2 (7) of the Bill provides that any territory which becomes independent will cease to be eligible for colonial development and welfare assistance. It will, therefore, no longer be necessary, as territories come to full independence within the Commonwealth, to include any such provision in future independence Acts—as we were obliged to do in the Ghana Act—for territories for whose international relations we are not responsible. This does not represent any change in policy at all.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
As to that subsection I wonder if the Colonial Secretary can tell us whether commitments entered into by those Governments before they attained their independence will be fulfilled by the Government? Or will they be cut off, too?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
No. They are certainly continued. The way in which we were approaching that was explained in some detail at the time of the Ghana Bill.
The background to the Bill is explained in some detail in the White Paper, Cmnd. 672, Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, of which the House knows. This White Paper covers the ground pretty comprehensively, but there are certain points to which I should like to draw particular attention.
The first part of the Bill is designed to extend the period of the existing Colonial Development and Welfare Acts and to make more money available for schemes made under the Act. I have in recent months when travelling round various Colonial Territories been very much embarrassed by being unable to say definitely that the Act would be extended over the next five years. I have known perfectly well that it would be, but I have not been able to anticipate decisions of Parliament, and all sorts of unnecessary difficulties have arisen because I have appeared to be somewhat cagey when asked direct questions about that. The purpose of the Bill is, therefore, to extend that period.
All but 2 per cent. of the money that we have provided over the years is in the 63 form of grants. The House will have seen in the White Paper a brief history of the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts over the years. Expenditure is now running at rather more than £12 million a year, and the total expenditure from April, 1946, to March, 1958, has amounted to £155,418,000. Some recent large sums are mentioned in particular in paragraph 8 of the White Paper. They demonstrate the very great importance of colonial development and welfare assistance in a wide variety of fields. There are, of course, any number of schemes which I could mention any one of which illustrates the value of colonial development and welfare help.
Hon. Members will remember the state of health in Bathurst previously. Such schemes include, for example, the construction of the Victoria Hospital at Bathurst which has given for the first time an efficient and comprehensive hospital and health service to that town. Then there is the help in the form of advice, which is of immense importance in this technical age. A small but very important project has been the contribution towards the cost of technical assistance and technical advisers for the Federal Government of the West Indies. These advisers have done a great deal to advise and help in education, agriculture, health and building in the Federation. On the research side, many new ventures have been started and a great deal of fascinating work has been done, mainly by putting the right man in the right place and at the right time.
I hope that the people who are doing this work all over the Colonial Territories realise the gratitude and admiration of the House. Despite the fact that a number of territories for which I as Secretary of State have hitherto had Parliamentary responsibility have become self-governing Dominions, we are recruiting over the whole field of officers—administrative, technical and professional people—over four times as many as we were recruiting before the war.
None of these schemes would have been possible without colonial development and welfare funds. But many hon. Members who have studied this matter with great care know only too well that the actual spending of money on capital development is the last step in quite a 64 long process. Plans have to be made in some detail and priorities decided in Colonial Territories. In the last week or so in Aden all sorts of suggested but competing claims have been put to me, as they are put to hon. Members when they travel in territories in the Commonwealth, as invariably is the practice for them to be able to do.
This means that the whole machinery of Government has to be used and staff recruited in order that colonial legislators may have before them sound and comprehensive development plans, on which they can form proper judgments and for which they, have to approve considerable expenditure from their own resources. At the same time, we in the Colonial Office do what we can, and it is a very big job, to provide in increasing measure the wide range of advice needed by colonial Governments.
Over a wide field the situation has now been reached in which colonial Governments are generally thoroughly accustomed to the idea of development planning and to the execution of development schemes. There is, however, still a very great deal more to be done. Major works of an unusual nature usually require the recruitment of additional staff and very careful consideration by colonial Governments before they can be started. But there has been a change in the situation over the last few years. It is now true to say that over a wide range of activity the physical prerequisites for development already exist and that the limiting factor is now more often that of finance than availability of trained manpower or supplies, particularly in the larger territories. This is an extremely important factor in considering future policy.
I have been Secretary of State for the Colonies for not far short of five years, which I think is the longest time since the illustrious days of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, and I know how four years or so ago this problem frequently turned not on money but on the difficulty of getting supplies and trained personnel. It now looks, however, as if it is finance that is the major hurdle over which we have to get. It is the purpose of the Bill to provide means of doing so.
The problem of finance is not simply one of providing grants from United 65 Kingdom funds. Colonial Governments have made very large efforts to provide substantial sums of money from their own resources, and in addition they have relied on external borrowing to meet the gap between what they can provide from their own resources, supplemented by what we can give from colonial development and welfare funds and the amount of expenditure which they felt able to incur. The House knows that there has been recently a deterioration in the terms of trade of many primary producing Colonies through a fall in the price of commodities on the sale of which they depend.
Whilst this helps the cost of living in many parts of the world, it brings great difficulties to the primary producing countries. It has naturally affected the ability of those countries to devote substantial sums of money from their own resources to development and welfare. At the same time, the increased burden of recurrent charges which have to be met on capital works already carried out, have further restricted their ability to provide capital sums from their own resources.
We have said in paragraph 11 of the White Paper that in several territories the immediate effect of development has been to increase the demand on Government resources, as, in the short run, the cost of running and maintaining roads, schools, hospitals and similar services often exhausts the additions to national income and Government revenue which these new facilities and opportunities produce. The most difficult operation for colonial governments involves striking a balance between what may be thought essential in development in the long run and what can be financed as regards continuing recurrent expenditure from local resources.
I know that the House is particularly anxious about the smaller territories. I certainly am. So were my predecessors of the late Labour Government and they had a special inquiry made into their problems. I began my régime at the Colonial Office in the confident hope that it would be possible to evolve a common pattern of treatment for the smaller territories as such, but I have been forced to the conclusion that they vary so infinitely in their problems that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have a common approach. But we can have a common 66 approach in giving them financial assistance.
These small territories present special problems in this respect, as the cost per head of administering the territory rises sharply when the population is less than between 50,000 and 100,000. They have to be permanently subsidised on capital and recurrent account if they are to maintain even the barest minimum level of services. These considerations suggest that the need for external financial assistance to the Colonies will continue for a long time. The existing arrangements for colonial development and welfare grants are now well tried and there is no doubt whatever that they are well understood in the Colonial Territories and now form a natural part of the arrangements for development.
We must remember, of course, that they are only a part of the total resources which have been and will be used and that the success of our assistance through this means depends to a very great extent on the success of the other economic measures taken by Her Majesty's Government and by other Commonwealth Governments to promote economic expansion of the Commonwealth as a whole. Here we note with pleasure the great interest that the Dominion of Canada is showing in the economic development of the West Indies. The more the sister Dominions are associated in helping with problems of this kind the more we shall all be pleased.
The amounts provided for by the Bill should be sufficient to increase the rate of colonial development and welfare expenditure over the next five years. The total amount of new money is £95 million, which compares with £80 million made available in 1955 on the present quinquennium. In 1955, the territories eligible for colonial assistance included the then Gold Coast, now Ghana, and Malaya. Although Ghana did not receive any additional assistance in 1955, Malaya was allocated £4 million. In 1955 also the needs of Nigeria were met by an allocation of £13.08 million, but Nigeria is, of course, to become an independent country within the Commonwealth in 1960.
In order to show comparative figures, I think that we ought to exclude the £24 million which is to be allocated to Malta. This means that there will be £71 million 67 of new money for other territories together with the unspent balance on 31st March of this year of about £44 million of moneys provided under previous Acts. This adds up to mean that £115 million will be available far spending in the five years from 1st April of this year, at an average rate of £23 million a year. At the present time, the colonial development and welfare expenditure in the current year is expected to amount to about £19½ million and in the coming financial year it will be £25 million but this is explained because not less than £2 million of that will be required in that year in Malta.
The sum provided in the Bill is therefore designed to permit a steady expansion of colonial development and welfare expenditure in the territories to which the Act will continue to apply. If the special programme of assistance to Malta is included in the figures, this expenditure will probably be at an average rate of over £25 million a year compared with the current actual rate of about £20 million a year, including expenditure in Nigeria.
The House will know about the provisions for an overlap which we found to be a very desirable thing and which is described in paragraph 12 of the White Paper. We adopted this device last time, I think with unanimous approval, and it is needed to eliminate any sag in development expenditure and to avoid certain administrative difficulties concerned with contracts, training courses and things of that kind.
Perhaps the House will forgive me if I say a word about the entirely novel plan of the Exchequer loans and also if I say that this is something to which for a very long time I personally and those who work with me in the Colonial Office have attached the greatest possible importance. It is very difficult to give details now, but these provisions represent a new and important departure in our policy.
Colonial Governments have hitherto relied almost entirely on the London market and other external sources for any loans that might be necessary. In certain cases loans from Her Majesty's Government's funds have been provided for special projects like the airfield in Hong Kong and the municipal services associated with the oil refinery in Aden, where I was a couple of weeks ago and saw something of the immense boon which 68 that oil refinery has meant to the people of Aden.
It is, however, now quite clear that the demand for loan funds likely to be made over the next five years may well be greater than can be obtained from the resources of the London market. The colonial Governments have a first-class record as borrowers on the London market on their own account. No Colony or former Colony has ever defaulted on the payment of interest or the repayment of capital in respect of its loans. The first-class record of the Colonies has once again been demonstrated by the recent successful issues on the London market by Barbados, Antigua and St. Lucia. The Government of Jamaica is now hoping to break fresh ground and enter the New York market for the first time in its own right. I am sure that the House will wish them well in this venture. The raising of market loans is a valuable system which we are confident will continue. Our hope is that not only will the London market, with its tradition of supporting colonial loans, meet to some extent the increased need for money but that other sources will also be tapped.
The fact remains that the colonial Governments are likely to need even more than the increased amount of money which the London market should be able to provide and it is for this reason that we are providing Exchequer loans to be available in those cases where it was clear that a market loan for one reason or another was not possible.
Paragraph 16 of the White Paper describes the security offered by colonial issues on the London market and the legislative steps taken by Colonial Territories to put beyond any doubt their acceptance and their fulfilment of their obligations. All loans by colonial Governments on the London market are made on terms framed to appeal to the market at the time of issue. There is no doubt that these issues have had and will continue to have many attractions for investors.
The part to be played by the Exchequer in the new system of Exchequer loans is that of a lender of last resort. There is another reason—a very important one—why Exchequer loans are of cardinal importance in development planning. Over the next five years, colonial Governments must be able to rely on a basic minimum 69 of external loan finance if they are to carry out their development programmes. Because of the doubt in their minds whether the London market can provide the full amounts likely to be necessary, only the assurance given by the Exchequer loans system can give the colonial Governments the necessary assurance that the loans which they need can in fact be provided. The Bill, therefore, provides for up to £100 million for Exchequer loans from the Consolidated Fund over five years, an average of £20 million a year if the need arises and an annual ceiling on approved loans of £25 million.
We believe that this sum, when added to what the London market can provide—and the London market naturally is free to provide as much as it can—and to what can be secured from other external sources, such as the International Bank, should be enough to provide the colonial Governments with their needs in the way of external loans over the next five years.
These loans will normally be provided to meet the cost of the loan-worthy element in general development programmes but from time to time it may be desirable to make loans to a specific project. It is absolutely essential to have the utmost flexibility in this scheme. If a London market loan for one reason or another cannot be secured then an Exchequer loan must be so made as to provide money for the same purposes as a London market loan would do.
In other cases, however, it may be desirable to provide money directly for a specific project if the circumstances of the case point in that direction. We are providing that the same provisions as to trade unions, fair wages and the employment of children will apply to Exchequer loans as they do and have done for years to the existing type of colonial development and welfare assistance.
I should like to say a brief word about the terms of these Exchequer loans. All that the Bill does is to provide that these will be fixed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies with the approval of the Treasury. No doubt no hon. and right hon. Members will be surprised at that insertion. We have set out in the White Paper what the terms will normally be. We have had in mind in all this that we must not make the terms more favourable than those on market issues. I think that 70 the reasons for that are obvious. Otherwise those Governments which are able to borrow on the market would be paying more for their money than the Governments borrowing from the Exchequer.
The Bill is the next step in a programme of continuous assistance to colonial Governments and I think that the significant feature to which I have drawn attention of Exchequer loans is one which will particularly commend itself to the House. Apart from this provision, the system of help to the Colonies is well known and has stood the test of time. Both in London and in colonial Territories the practice of development planning and the execution of development works has reached a high level of efficiency and in many cases the limiting factor is now more that of finance than of physical capacity.
We believe that expansion in development spending is now feasible and desirable, and we believe that the amounts provided in the Bill will enable a substantial expansion in fact to take place. We have to remember, nonetheless, that in development planning colonial Governments have to do what I mentioned earlier—to strike a difficult balance between the execution of projects which may be essential and their ability to bear the recurrent costs which are associated with those projects.
Colonial development and welfare grants, market and Exchequer loans will make increased capital development work possible, but in the long run colonial Governments must be able to bear on their revenues the recurrent charges involved in improved modern services. This implies that our efforts must be directed primarily to the type of development which will increase the resources of the territories. In this context, the measures taken to expand Commonwealth trade are, of course, of the first importance. We should not have put forward these proposals as confidently as we have put them forward had we not believed that there would also occur over the period of the next few years an expansion in Colonial trade and a strengthening generally of Colonial economics.
The Bill should help forward in a substantial way the development of those territories for which we are all responsible and where in the economic, the social and the constitutional field many 71 difficult decisions of the first importance have to be taken. Many problems crowd in on a Colonial Secretary, any one of which might have occupied the attention of a Session for one of my predecessors in the past century and many of which now arise in a matter of hours.
Many of these problems raise difficult controversial decisions. Some of these decisions which we shall have to take are certain to be fiercely criticised, and they will be more vehemently criticised by those who do not know the whole story than by those who do. Perhaps in later years if the wheels of fate so determine—although it is very unlikely—they might give a chance to other people to study some of the problems, and they might then come to more tolerant conclusions about the actions of their predecessors. In this field of economic expansion and of welfare, however, I am happy to think that the House as a whole is agreed on the aims and on the way to achieve them.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
Will the right hon. Gentleman give an example of the controversial decisions on economic planning of which he speaks?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If perhaps the hon. Member had been more intent on listening to what I was saying than preparing his supplementary question he would have known that I was dealing with controversial questions not about economics but about the social and constitutional problems which we have to solve. I specifically said that in the economic field I thought there was agreement on the aims and on how to achieve them.
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
In general, we support the Bill. The Colonial Secretary's speech has covered the ground. I congratulate him on avoiding, until the last sentence, any mention of any particular controversy which might have aroused the House, although on two occasions he invoked hi3 predecessors of the nineteenth century and on one occasion he mentioned Mr. Joseph Chamberlain. Does he believe that Mr. Joseph Chamberlain would have sat there silent this afternoon while a British Member of Parliament was excluded from Nyasaland?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Had the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland existed at the 72 time of my illustrious predecessor, and had he helped to introduce the Bill conferring certain powers on the Federation, he would have been the last person to have attempted to get back the powers which Parliament had formally handed to the Federation.
§ Mr. Callaghan
What the Colonial Secretary is saying is that the British taxpayer may go on paying in Nyasaland but he is not allowed the right for his representatives to visit the territory.
We have a situation described in the White Paper in which considerable sums are being devoted to colonial development and welfare in Nyasaland—several millions of pounds of the British taxpayers' money. I hope that this interests the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). Yet we have reached a situation today in which my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) is not allowed to go into that territory. I do not believe that the Colonial Secretary. in his heart of hearts, supports what is being done, and we shall have to return to the matter, because, as he knows better than anybody—because he understands the position—we are today conceding to the Africans in Nyasaland the argument that this House has deserted its responsibility and that they are now under flit control of Southern Rhodesia.
That is what the whole argument is about, and it has been confirmed by the failure of the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to make arrangements for my hon. Friend to continue his tour. A bad day's work has been done by the Government today, the result of which we shall see over many months. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State does not think it amusing, because I assure him that it is not. It is a most serious matter and a most serious decision for the Government to reach.
§ Mr. E. H. C. Leather (Somerset, North)
It is true that the British taxpayers' money is being spent in Nyasaland, but we also give a great deal of the British taxpayers' money to the Colombo Plan. Is it not a fact that if the Ceylon Government took it into their head to forbid a British citizen to enter Ceylon they have precisely the same rights in such a matter as the Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I can imagine what the hon. Member's reaction would be if the Socialist Government of Ceylon, which is made up of Singhalese and Tamils, were to take this action. He should not be discriminatory. He knows very well what the reaction of 90 per cent. of hon. Members would be in those circumstances. This is simply not a party issue, or at least it should not be a party issue.
§ Mr. Callaghan
This is a territory in which we have very considerable responsibilities, as is well known to every hon. Member who looks at the list of responsibilities laid down in the Federal law. It is monstrous that any hon. Member should stoop to try to defend the exclusion of an hon. Member of the House from Nyasaland, and I hope that the hon. Member for Somerset, North (Mr. Leather) will have second thoughts about it.
I do not wish to pursue this matter, and had not the shadow of Joseph Chamberlain been raised I should not have brought the matter up. I believe that on this issue Joseph Chamberlain would have been with us and not with the Government.
I turn to discuss the Bill in more particular, although what I have been saying, I am sure, is very much in order in view of the fact that we are voting money for Nyasaland. The Colonial Secretary has touched on the measure of the task which we have to face here, and I should like shortly to expand it, because what is happening in these territories is that the growth of population as a result of improved health facilities, improved drugs and improved health generally is leading to a growing pressure on food supplies. The result is that instead of these territories moving ahead and improving their position, some of them are finding very great difficulties even in standing still and in maintaining the standard of life which they enjoyed twenty, thirty or forty years ago.
According to my economic friends, we in the advanced countries generate our new capital through our own savings, and because we have reached a fairly high standard of life we can set aside a portion of our earnings for the savings which should help to generate the next 74 lot of capital. It is fairly easy to do that in this country or in Western Europe or in the United States, but how difficult it is to do the job of generating one's own capital through one's own savings in countries where the income per head is £10, £15 or £20 per annum. That is basically why the House sets aside a portion of our own savings for the aid of those under-developed territories which are having a very hard job in generating their own capital.
Mr. P. T. Bauer, in a book recently, uttered a truism which I think is still worth repealing. He said that the Colonial Territories are poor because they are poor, and he went on to explain that what he meant was that because they are poor they have not the social services, the education, the health facilities or the technical skill which would enable them to jump to the next level. And because they do not possess this they remain poor. Indeed, there is a vicious circle from which, by this Bill, it is hoped to do something to enable these territories to break out.
An even more alarming conclusion which he reached was that in parts of the world today the gap between the rich nations and the poor nations is growing greater than it was at the turn of the century. If that be so, if, in fact, in these backward territories we have not yet been able to generate a saving sufficient to enable them to move ahead at the same pace that more advanced nations are moving, then the social tensions in Asia and Africa will grow. Let us face it: the attraction of some form of totalitarianism will seem very much greater than it would appear in countries where a reasonably good standard of life is enjoyed.
When I was in Djakarta recently I was going through the bazaar and saw some of the tracts which the Chinese Communists are publishing at ld. a time and giving away. It was most illuminating to see the appeal being made by the Chinese Communists to the peasants of Indonesia—"Look at the transformation we are making in the lives of our peasants here. We may have to be stern with them, but at least their standard of life is improving," If one is suffering from the effects of raging inflation; if there are hungry periods in certain parts 75 of the year, one may be prepared to accept a little toughness. Freedom may not seem quite so important, if the alternative which is offered is good and regular crops and a full belly.
The simple fact is that, despite this Bill and the aid which is being given, the battle is still far from being won. It is true that these territories are shouldering the major part of the burden of generating their own saving. Paragraph 2 of the White Paper says that the local resources responsible for financing development schemes come to £600 million a year. The grants under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts come to £137 million, and loans from the London Market and the International Bank total £200 million. So that, in fact, the underdeveloped territories are raising much more than half of the development finances being put into these territories.
As a result, and as the White Paper goes on to show, in paragraph 3, the "gross domestic product"—which, I understand, is economist's jargon for the national cake—grows at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum. Perhaps that might not seem too bad, but the Leader of the House once told us that we should double our standard of living in twenty-five years, which is the equivalent of 4 per cent. per annum. That is based on a stable population, but, as I have pointed out, in these territories the population is not stable.
When I was in Singapore recently I was told by the Minister of Commerce there that the population is growing at the rate of 4 per cent. to 5 per cent. per annum, while trade remains practically stationary. Therefore, that territory, with a population of nearly 2 million, is in the category of those countries which are finding it extremely difficult to remain in the same position while running very hard. The existing unemployment in Singapore is something which must be regarded seriously by any one studying these colonial problems.
We support the Bill, as I say, but we shall have criticisms to make of its administrative provisions. I agree with the Secretary of State for the Colonies that in some ways its effect is more than offset by the fluctuations in the prices of 76 primary products. In 1956, Mr. Hammarskjöld, the Secretary-General of United Nations, pointed this out when he said that a 5 per cent. rise, or fall, in the prices of primary products was equivalent to the entire capital, private, public, loans and grants, made available to the underdeveloped countries. Therefore, it is of much more value to the underdeveloped countries that they should have a period of stability, or of slightly rising levels of the prices of primary products, than that they should receive all the aid which can be given by the British taxpayer.
I was very glad, but surprised, to hear the Colonial Secretary say that this is based on the hope—indeed, I think that the right hon. Gentleman said on the expected—expansion of colonial trade. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is right, but I did not find that same confidence during my recent visit to parts of the Commonwealth. I found a genuine worry about the effects of the Common Market on colonial exports. In at least two countries I found that efforts were being made to negotiate separately with individual members of the Common Market to try to procure access to the markets that exist in Common Market territories.
I wish that we had been able to gather the whole Commonwealth together in the negotiations which have taken place on the Common Market. I wish that the Commonwealth countries had been not only informed about what was going on, but had been invited to take part in those negotiations. I can assure the Colonial Secretary that his optimism is not shared by many to whom I spoke about the conditions enforced on colonial trade. Indeed, the most pessimistic of the people to whom I spoke thought that there was likely to be a strangulation of trade; that it is likely to lessen rather than to increase. If that be so, we must face this problem at an early date and endeavour to ensure, for the sake of the future of these Colonial Territories, and of the Commonwealth generally, and the future of the people of these islands, that we do not allow ourselves to be manoeuvred into that position.
When the Secretary-General of the United Nations called for a stabilisation of the prices of primary products as he did in 1956, he was, in so many words, 77 censuring the light-hearted way in which Her Majesty's Government have thrown away a number of price stabilisation agreements which already existed. I much regret that the Government have carried their ideology into the sphere of Commonwealth welfare, because their desire—their urgent desire—to get away from all these controlled prices has added to the difficulties of the Colonies and the Commonwealth countries.
I wish to take up another point made by the Minister. He referred to the fall in the price levels of these primary products helping the cost of living in other countries. It may do that.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Yes, short-term—the right hon. Gentleman did not say that originally. But I agree. I do not suppose that he and I are too far apart on this—at least, I hope not. But the next effect is that exports fall away, which is what is happening today.
All of us who have visited the Colonial Territories have seen development plans from which projects have been deleted; projects which need steel and skill and many of the commodities and implements which this country could provide, but which the territories cannot afford to finance. It is possible to buy a low cost of living at a high price in terms of employment. This is a lesson which must be drawn from what has happened over the last few years. I believe that the Government were wrong to be obsessed by the ideology of free markets in the sphere of primary products.
When we examine the plans which have been drawn up; when we see the reports of budget deficiencies now occurring in Tanganyika and Uganda; when we realise that they will not be able to finance their development at the existing level, let alone expand—despite the provisions contained in the Bill—we realise that this matter must be taken very seriously. It is having the effect of cutting back the development plans which the provisions contained in the Bill are intended to accelerate and promote.
I wish to ask some questions of the Colonial Secretary. He did not tell us how this sum had been arrived at. He said that the Colonies could spend more, if the resources were available. How much more? I assume that there is a 78 series of five-year plans for the Colonial Territories which have been assembled at the Colonial Office and which have been added up.
The Colonial Secretary should know the total that those territories feel they could reasonably undertake during the next five years, if they had the finance. I would ask the Under-Secretary of State to tell us the difference between the amount allocated under the Bill and the amount which the Colonial Territories believe they could reasonably and profitably expend during the five years, if the finance were available. As the Colonial Secretary said, that is a major hurdle.
Assuming that there is a shortfall—as we know there is—how are the amounts parcelled out? Who takes the decision how much each territory shall get? I am sure that these are political and not wholly economic decisions. There was an advisory committee in the Colonial Office during the régime of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones). but it was wound up after 1951. I do not know the reasons, but heavier responsibility was clearly thrown upon Colonial Office officials for parcelling out such assistance as is available than when they had the benefit of a group of experts advising the Colonial Secretary, who could make judgments of what was needed, and where.
When one reads the list of territories to which aid has been given, one might assume that the more political trouble there is the greater the aid the territories get. If one compares the aid given to British Guiana, British Honduras and Kenya with Somaliland and the forgotten islands in the Pacific, one might wonder whether the criterion for aid is not, "The more Communists the more considerable the sum." If a territory has a violent nationalist movement it can be sure of getting aid.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
Surely that is precisely the plea with which the hon. Member opened his own speech.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I said that where there was hunger and poverty in a territory we ran a danger of Communist development. If there is danger of Communism because of the hunger in a place like Somaliland it gets a much greater allocation of aid. 79 I am asking for the basis on which aid is allocated.
I regret very much the Government's refusal to adapt this welfare aid to the newly emergent, independent territories. Why do we cut ourselves off from them in this way and make it a penalty of independence that the territories shall receive no more development and welfare aid? I was glad to hear the Colonial Secretary say that under Clause 2 (7), although these Colonies are to be cut off from aid when they become independent, the commitments will be carried out. He said that that had always been the case.
I would ask the Under-Secretary a little more about this, because I am told that it was not always the case. Perhaps there is some doubt about it. When the West Indian Federation came into being there was a balance of more than £8 million under her allocation, and £4½ million more of actual commitments to her under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, still unspent. Leaving aside grants-in-aid and £1 million grant for the establishment of the Federal headquarters, it would be reasonable to give her the balance of our commitments to her. I understood from the Colonial Secretary that that had already happened. Is there some misapprehension about this?
The right hon. Gentleman said that under Clause 2 (7) that would not be altered, but I am given other illustrations. Malaya was more generously treated than Ghana. There was actually a residual amount left unspent from her not inconsiderable assistance. Surely a case could be made out that when we have entered into specific commitments prior to independence we should meet them in full before the bond is severed. It may be that there is some mistake about this and I would ask about it. That was the point I raised during the Colonial Secretary's speech. Perhaps the Under-Secretary will go into the matter a little more fully.
I come to the question of loans. As the Colonial Secretary has said, this is the new feature of the Bill for these territories, and we welcome it. The conditions seem rather onerous. The Government insist that the territories should go to the London money market first, where interest rates will be high because of the 80 economic policy of the Government. They say also that when territories repay the loans it shall be by equal instalments of capital and interest. I would ask the Under-Secretary of State the reason for that. Is it an ordinary commercial provision that capital should be repaid over thirty years, starting from year one, by equal instalments? Organisations and institutions who have to raise and repay capital do not have to repay it on those onerous terms.
This is an extremely heavy provision to lay upon these territories when their revenue-earning projects are so small and when this amount is in any case to be part of a project for developing the social superstructure of roads, communications, schools and a great many other types of project which are not revenue-earning. Unless the Government have had second thoughts on the matter, we shall ask the Committee on the Bill to consider whether this is not too heavy a burden to put upon the territories.
The Colonial Secretary said that he was glad to see this provision in the Bill because the short-term advances that had been made to a number of these territories were now catching up on them. They would be in very great difficulty in meeting their obligations under the short-term advances unless they were allowed to convert them into long-term loans. In so far as that is true, will the loans be available for financing new projects or will they not really be raised for servicing the loan that has already been given?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That will undoubtedly be a heavy charge on the loan in the first year or so, but thereafter one hopes that it will be used for other purposes.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I assumed that that was the case, and I am much obliged to the Colonial Secretary. We ought to get it clear. In the first year, the first £20 million may not be of very great help to the territories in financing new development. That makes what I asked earlier of greater importance than it seemed at the time. When we look at what the money market has been able to do, according to paragraph 17 of the White Paper, we realise that it has not been a very glorious record in the last few years. I do not blame the London money 81 market for this, but I place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government benches.
In 1952, the first year of office of the present Government, £30 million was the amount of trustee stock issued in London by colonial Governments, but it dwindled away to £16 million, £10 million, £11 million, and, in 1957, £15 million. In 1958, it was £5 million, which was all that the London money market could find. The reason was that these Governments could not afford to pay the high rates of interest that were demanded by the London money market, as a result of the economic policy followed by the British Government on those benches.
§ Sir John Barlow (Middleton and Prestwich)
The hon. Gentleman should recollect that a large amount of profit was ploughed back into the Colonies, quite apart from the new money obtained from the London money market. The advances from profits were very much greater, in fact, than the figures show.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I do not dispute that. I do not know whether it is true or not, but I do not dispute it. I am not sure how relevant it is because the profits ploughed back are not devoted to the sort of purpose to which these loans, which were running at fairly high rate, are devoted. Surely there is no difference between us on that. Profits made by the copper companies in Northern Rhodesia are not used for making roads, but for getting more copper. For this purpose the London money market was fulfilling a very useful rôle in the past, but now this has been run down.
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Waver-tree)
The hon. Member will realise that in many parts of the Commonwealth profits are used to build new industries.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Yes, and in that sense they will be capable of raising more money for the territory. Why should we argue about this? If it was of value to have £30 million raised by the London money market in 1952, why is it not of value to do that in 1958 instead of having only £5 million? If it was good in 1952 it would have been good in 1958.
The simple truth is that the economic policy followed by this Government, which has resulted in a measure of un- 82 employment and short-time working at home, is resulting in privations in the Colonies as a whole. The economic policy followed by the Government is the cause of slowing down development overseas. That fact should be clearly understood. What the Colonial Secretary is doing with the aid of the Chancellor is putting money into one pocket to take it out of the other.
This Bill, to some extent, and the loans, to some extent, are a rescue operation, because the London money market is unable to take on the job it used to do, or was in the habit of doing, either because the Colonies cannot afford the money or the London money market wants much greater security and guarantee than it has at present. As for the International Bank, which the Colonial Secretary mentioned, that has been of practically no use to our Colonial Territories. It wants gilt-edged, gold-plated, jewel-studded, copper-bottomed investment before it will risk a penny. What private enterprise cannot do, the British taxpayer has to do instead and, as usual, we are coming to the aid of private enterprise.
When the Colonial Secretary boasts about these loans it shows to what extent the Socialist Party has infected him. I am very glad indeed to hear him advocating a good Socialist Measure of this sort. Of course, he falls away. He has not got to the point where he can say, "Let them come to us before going to the London money market and we shall charge them a reasonable rate of interest." But I should net be surprised if, in twenty-five years' time, his successor, as he said of Joseph Chamberlain, will say, "If Alan Lennox-Boyd were here new he would be taking credit for this". We on our side have hopes that in colonial affairs we shall be able to carry the Conservative Party with us stage by stage as we have done in so many ways in the last fourteen years.
About the loans which these Colonial Territories will have to take up, there has been same talk about matching loans, by which I understand that when a grant is given under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act a loan has to be taken up as well. I do not know the purpose of that, but I hope, especially with the present high rates of interest, it will not be the policy of the Colonial Office to 83 say, "If we lend you £½ million then £¼ million will be by way of grant and for the other £½ million you must go to the money market." If that is not the policy—and I gather it is not—what is the purpose?
I have finished my points of detailed comment on the Bill. We cannot be sure how adequate it is until we see the full picture revealed by the Under-Secretary later tonight, but it is a modest step forward. We should like to see it go further. We still believe that neither the White Paper nor the contents of the Bill match the needs of the situation. It mean a higher degree of saving by the British people if we are to go further.
If we were to ask the British people to go further we should not be able either to have the remissions of taxation in full which may take place when the Budget comes, or to allow for the fullest possible increase in the standard of living of the British people which otherwise would be available. In other words, we should be asking them to put away a little more now so that there should be a greater reward later. The greater reward need not necessarily be a financial reward. It may be that they would prefer to have 6d. off Income Tax in April than a little more on this bill, but the issue should be presented to them.
We present it this way. It is better to save more now in order to invest in these territories. In a continent like Africa, which is passing through a revolutionary period, in a continent like Asia, which is going through one of the biggest revolutions the world has seen, if we really wish to create a stable world in which people will not be driven by hunger, poverty and misery to violent courses and to follow totalitarian doctrines, it is better not to have 6d. off Income Tax but to put more money into this scheme.
We believe that that is long-sighted statesmanship and it is why we would be quite willing to say to the British people that they should go further. We think that the Government have done something and we support what they have done, but we would like to see it carried further. We believe it would be in the long-term interest of the British people if it were carried further. We are certain that it would redound to the benefit and credit 84 of our people and believe that it would raise the standard of living of the people overseas, many of whom—as all of us who have seen these territories know—are living below levels which any Christian could, in his heart, support.
§ 5.46 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peel (Leicester, South-East)
In very warmly welcoming this Bill this afternoon, I wish to couple that with a great, enduring and continuing memorial to a very great Colonial Secretary, Mr. Oliver Stanley. Only in the hands of a good and sensible Government, such as this country has at the moment, is it possible to continue to increase the sums made available in this way.
I was particularly glad to see in the White Paper about the Bill that the percentage spent an education was as high as, if not higher, than that spent on any other item. I very much hope that will continue, because it seems that at present education is the most important factor in our relationship with the dependent Commonwealth. Especially at this moment, the outstanding requirement is for technicians, because it is vital that the standard of living of these territories should be raised. It is all very well to talk about intellectual and moral standards and political knowledge, but I am afraid that none of those things is going to be acceptable unless bellies are full, or fuller than they are at present. Therefore, it is vitally important that material progress should be in the forefront.
It is undoubtedly a race between the Communist and the free world for the hearts and minds of the people in the dependent territories. The Communist world is determined to capture them if it can, and will do so through help in material ways. The heart of the problem is the provision of science teachers. We must step this up considerably so that technical progress may be assured.
I have spoken about capturing the hearts and minds of these people, and particularly of the Africans. It seems to me that fundamentally at the root of the Bill and all help to the dependent Commonwealth lies the vital necessity to ensure that we get the sympathy, the co-operation and the willing wish of these peoples to adopt the free world way of life.
85 The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) would, perhaps, agree that when, as at present, it is necessary to think first and foremost of creating racial harmony rather than racial division in these territories, and particularly in Africa, possibly some hon. Members from his side of the House do not contribute very well to this vital requirement.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) will be back in the House soon and able to speak for himself. From the Press reports that I have seen, however, and from the letter written by a distinguished journalist in the Rhodesia Herald, I doubt whether even hon. Members opposite would be able to disagree with anything that my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury has said. Certainly, they would not disagree with his appeal that the Africans should eschew violence in all circumstances.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I rise to a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The hon. Member has not been a Member of the House very long, but is it in order to impute motives to my hon. Friend by saying that he speaks with two voices on a matter as serious as this?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
I do not think the hon. Member attributed it to one individual. I thought he said that there were two voices on all sides. That was my impression.
§ Mr. Peel
When we talk about Africans, I hope that hon. Members will not confine themselves to black Africans. There are today quite a lot of white Africans who are proud of being so, people who regard themselves as Kenyans, Rhodesians, and so on. They have contributed greatly to the economic and political development and advancement of these territories.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
May I ask the hon. Member this question? Is it not fair to 86 ask the Europeans who have gone to the so-called Dark Continent and now, being in Africa, term themselves Africans to integrate with that society before they use the term "African" behind the term "white"?
§ Mr. Peel
There are many thousands of Europeans and Indians in Africa who have demonstrated their loyalty to the countries in which they are living by the services they have rendered in raising the standard of living of all peoples and by helping to lighten what the hon. Member calls the Dark Continent.
§ Mr. Peel
Yes, social activities too.
The point is that these people in Africa are crying out for education and they are determined to get it. They will get it somehow. It is vital that we should provide it, because if we do not, I fear that they will look for it behind the Iron Curtain or behind the Bamboo Curtain. All hon. Members would regard that as a great tragedy. The threat to the free world might be such that it would be very difficult to meet it.
In considering the necessity for material advancement, for technicians and for scientists, I hope we shall not forget the importance of the humanities. In the long run, there is no doubt that political education and advancement depend upon a sound education in the humanities. It is only in that way that a free democratic society can be built up. For a long time to come, the advanced training would have to be provided in this country and in the other older members of the Commonwealth.
I make the plea that in welcoming these people to this country, we should remember that despite all the financial and material help that we render, it will in the long run be of no great use unless the heart is behind it—in fact, that the heart is really more important than the head, that we must constantly bear in mind that we are a Commonwealth family, that we should behave to all members of the Commonwealth in that spirit and that they should be made welcome. This can be done only on an individual basis. Governments can do a certain amount, but there is nothing quite so real, so good or so lasting in depth as the 87 personal relationships between all members of the Commonwealth.
That brings me to another point which we have now reached in our long Commonwealth story: that is, that we have come almost full circle. We started more as a trading Empire than as anything else and we are coming back to a trading Commonwealth. Therefore, as the governmental ties steadily weaken and loosen, our commercial and industrial ties should, and will, strengthen. Our commercial and industrial people will bear an ever greater responsibility for our relationships with the Commonwealth.
Throughout our imperial history, the individual commercial people have been the greatest friends of these countries. We must not forget that it was an individual who brought the rubber tree to Malaya. In the future, it will be individual initiative and enterprise—free enterprise—that will play the greatest part in the development and strengthening of our Commonwealth.
Whatever we do on the material plane to assist and help these people, the one thing that we simply must not forget is the vital necessity in difficult times, when there is so much difference and discrepancy, as there is at present, between the intellectual and material stages of advancement of different peoples, to build racial harmony or the whole house will fall to the ground.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)
I begin by offering an apology to the House, because later in the evening I have to be away to fulfil another engagement at a time when 1 should certainly have been listening to other hon. Members speaking.
In many ways, I found the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester, South-East (Mr. Peel) agreeable. I did not agree with all his comments, but I certainly agreed strongly with his emphasis on the necessity and importance of education. I agreed with him also in what he said about the necessity for producing more technicians and the difficulty of finding the science teachers to help to produce them. I agreed with the hon. Member about his attitude concerning students coming here to seek 88 their higher education. We should all take as helpful and friendly an attitude as possible to those guests who come to take places in our universities, technical colleges and other institutions.
I am especially glad to be following the hon. Member for Leicester, South-East, because I also want to speak about education. The grants that we are discussing have been, as the hon. Member pointed out, given very largely for educational purposes, and presumably that will continue. Education is essential in the underdeveloped territories, not merely for itself, but as part of the economic drive and also to support the aspirations of any people looking towards self-government. We must assume that these three ideas—economic development, education and aspirations towards selfgovernment—must walk along hand-in-hand.
It is very largely in education that one sees the greatest challenge in the Colonial Territories today. The Secretary of State, in opening the debate, pointed out that the difficulty of finding technicians has become a great deal less now; the major difficulty is to provide the money. But the major difficulty in education is still finding the teachers.
For these reasons, and because of the importance that grants for education have had in the past, I hope that education will bulk as large in the new provisions as in the past. We have not, in the past, made many loans for educational purposes. Indeed, as the Secretary of State pointed out, the loans have been in total very small indeed. All the educational finance has been by way of grant. I take it—and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will confirm this—that that will be true in the future, because education is not a suitable form of activity to be financed by this kind of loan. It is much more suitable for grants.
If that is so, although educational financing will come out of the grant sector of the money being provided, I hope that the increase in educational financing will go ahead pari passu with the increase in economic financing, because the increase, taking into account both grants and loans, in the total amount provided for by the Bill is fairly substantial. For that reason, I very much hope that the 89 advance for education will be considerable. I hope that it will maintain, or even increase, its proportion of the present total.
I want to discuss one or two specific aspects of education and ask the Under-Secretary of State one or two things about them and also make one or two suggestions. First, a good deal of the C.D. and W. financing goes to the universities. When this policy was first embarked upon, the general assumption was that C.D. and W. finance should be over and above the ordinary administrative financing of the territory, to provide something out of its reach, so to speak. University education is normally out of the reach of underdeveloped territories. Therefore, a good deal has been provided for university education.
There was published last week the Report of the Lockwood Working Party, which went out to East Africa to make what amounts, I take it, to a final assessment of the situation for providing university and university level education. I was not able to get a copy of the Report until this morning, so I have done no more than skim through it. I noted, however, one or two things which newspaper reports had already forecast.
What is projected in the Lockwood Report is a very considerable extension of higher education in East Africa, a considerable expansion of the Royal Technical College at Nairobi and the establishment of a new university college in Tanganyika. That means very heavy financing. Indeed the Report makes that fairly clear in regard to the Royal Technical College which, if the recommendation in the Report is carried out, will now become a university college.
These changes are, according to the Lockwood Working Party, timed to take place—at least it is hoped that they will take place—within the period that we are discussing in connection with the Bill, that is to say, the next quinquennium. Within the next five or six years or so it is hoped that a good deal of the work will be done and a good many of the proposals carried into effect.
I should like to ask the Under-Secretary of State whether the necessary money will be provided out of C.D. and W. funds, 'because it is not likely that a very high proportion of it can be provided by 90 the territories concerned. The Report goes into this aspect to some extent, though not in great detail. In the time I had available I was not able to follow the Report in this matter in very considerable detail.
One other point that the Lockwood Report makes, which rather gladdens my heart, is that the university college of Tanganyika should include law. I have previously complained in the House about the lack of law schools in Africa.
§ Mr. MacPherson
I do not think that we have enough lawyers, with respect to the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney). We have too few of them in Africa. We need lawyers, because we need people who can not merely argue cases, but who can administer justice. We need lawyers because they contribute a good deal to the understanding of the basic principles on which politics is founded. We need lawyers and the Africans are proving that. Because there are no law schools in Africa, they come to this country for law training. It is about time that we gave the comparatively small amount of funds and resources needed for the establishment of a law school in East Africa. I hope, also, that that will be put into effect.
A point which has often been hammered by my hon. Friends in connection with the future development of university education in East Africa is the extension of adult education under the extra-mural department of Makerere to Tanganyika. From an earlier reply I understood that this might be considered by the Lockwood Working Party. I do not see any reference to it, but I hope that the extension will take place. I hope that the increase in funds will be sufficient to cover that. It would not be a very expensive extension, and it is very urgently needed.
The advantages of adult education seem to me to be mainly two. First, there is the direct benefit of an educational nature, partly the actual learning of the subject-matter and partly the provision of, to some extent, an educated citizenry and parenthood as a background to the youngsters in school. 91 Secondly, there is the preparation for self-government. Anyone who looks at the writings on its educational system of some of the people who have gone to look at West Africa will be struck by the extraordinary enthusiasm that they all report West Africa to have shown for adult education. The connection between that and running its own affairs—taking over the government of its own territory—is very strong. There is no reason why the same enthusiasm for adult education should not have the opportunity to show itself—as I am sure it would—in Tanganyika, as it shows itself in Kenya and Uganda.
I should like now to put into specific form a question put in a general form by my hon. Friend—the question of priorities, particularly in education. It is enormously important that C.D. and W. funds should be spent on higher education, and the provision of universities and university colleges; but when I put, side by side, the possible provision of higher education in one area—in Tanganyika, for example—and existing provision for ordinary school education in the Copper Belt, I begin to wonder what are the principles that justify a choice one way or the other. It is very difficult. One could advance arguments on The one side and the other, and we should all probably arrive at one or other of the possible conclusions. Nevertheless, one would like to know the principles on which the Government decide.
Secondary education is extremely important. At least comparatively, it figures, financially, to a much smaller extent than university education in C.D. and W. expenditure, but there is a tremendous volume of opinion, of all political shades, suggesting that the real core of education in the underdeveloped countries lies at the secondary level; and that on that we should spend most of our resources. One reason is that it provides the seed bed for further education. It provides the potential technicians, scientists, graduates and the like. If we do not have a lively and strong secondary educational system, a great deal of the rest cannot be built.
If we are to grant more funds, is it possible to give more to secondary education, more particularly as we are meeting a difficulty that has been referred to 92 already? When we have spent a certain amount of capital on buildings and schools, we begin to find difficulties in following up. We may get children to the primary school, but after that we find that there are no middle-school facilities to follow on, and when we get them into the middle school we find there are no facilities for secondary school education. There is another difficulty. We may be trying to build up university institutions in a territory where there is not enough sixth-form education to provide the necessary inflow of students to them. All these things clamour for more resources to be devoted to secondary education.
Here we meet, I suppose, the difficulty that, in the past, C.D. and W. funds have, by general practice, principle and agreement, been allocated, as I say, to something outside what might normally be expected to be done administratively by the territory. Furthermore, they have been allocated to capital, rather than to recurrent expenditure. What is needed is an elastic policy. We have already seen exceptions to the general principles that I have stated. If we are substantially increasing the amounts, as this Bill does, we might consider concentrating a good deal of the money on secondary education.
Another aspect of education that badly needs strengthening, and financial reinforcement, is what might be called the lower range of technical education—that which produces the craftsman and the technician, and will make the peasant a more knowledgeable agriculturist. In the past, that aspect has suffered very largely for reasons similar to those that have caused it to suffer in this country.
We have been great pioneers here of university education because we were fairly clear about the principles on which to establish universities and university education. We have been a good deal less clear about the principles governing technical education, higher and lower. As a result, we tended to go much further ahead in the Colonies, as they were, in developing university education, tending to mirror our own conception, whether it was correct or not, and have tended to be slower with higher technical education, and slowest of all with lower technical education.
93 Professor Arthur Lewis is only one of a very large number of writers who have recently stressed the absolute necessity of giving the man who tills the soil far greater scientific knowledge of his job; not necessarily turning him into a professional agriculturist, but giving him the comparatively lower-grade technical knowledge that will make him, a good craftsman, at least. That side needs great strengthening, and I hope that some of the funds that we are now voting will find their way there—
§ Mr. J. Johnson
I agree with every word that my hon. Friend has said so far, but I think that he will agree that all the secondary, junior, intermediate and higher education falls down unless we have a supply of teachers. Therefore, the important thing is to spend money on teacher-training colleges.
§ Mr. MacPherson
I agree with my hon. Friend. I had intended to imply that, if I did not mention it specifically, when I concentrated on the key importance of secondary education as a producer. One gets candidates for teacher-training colleges only if one has the secondary schools. It is the old story of the hen and the egg, but we must have them both at the same time, and one after the other and the other after the one.
Another important aspect of secondary education is the provision of libraries. Quite rightly, we provide huge sums for university libraries. All our own experience in the country has shown that one of the best forms of expenditure on secondary education is that on libraries. The bigger and better the library, so far as it fits the needs of the secondary youngster, the better the youngster is likely to turn out in the end.
I am not an expert educationist, but anybody who has followed the subject for the last few years in this country will realise that opinion has turned more and more towards the value of improving and extending libraries in the secondary schools—largely because teachers are seeing the effects of having the youngsters surrounded by lots of books at that stage. The same would hold true, I am sure, in the schools in the under-developed territories. I should like to see the Colonial Secretary make a considerable drive 94 towards the provision of good libraries for the secondary schools, as well as for universities, and institutions of that rank.
I add to that the desirability of providing books in languages easily readable by the local people. There should be a good deal more translating into the local vernacular, but the provision of books, whether in or out of schools, will have a very considerable effect, if there are the beginnings of an educational background on which to base it, in improving the quality of education, and of citizenship.
Finally, I should like to refer to the way in which the Government are advised in these matters. They get plenty of advice on the university level from the Inter-University Council. They presumably get plenty of advice about higher technical colleges from the Council for Overseas Colleges of Arts and Technology. Neither of these bodies is particularly forthcoming in letting hon. Members know what advice they give. Our University Grants Committee produces its Report quinquennially, but it also produces an interim report every year, whereas the Inter-University Council does not. As for the other body, I think it is only this year intending to produce, in May or June, a report covering the last eight years.
This is not a very happy situation. We could do with a little more information here. Presumably, however, the Colonial Secretary gets advice from these bodies; on questions of secondary and primary education presumably he relies on the education authorities in the territories for advice. But what about the whole field of non-university technical and professional, semi-professional and sub-professional activity—the kind of education that can be given to youngsters after they have left school, whether at the end of a complete secondary course or earlier, who do not intend to go on to professional university courses?
There is a big gap here not only in advice to the Government, but in the knowledge on which to base that advice. There is need for either a survey or the establishment of a body parallel to these two higher bodies. At any rate, there is here a large subject about which information is lacking and about which, therefore, judgment and informed decisions must be very difficult to reach.
95 I see in the list of research projects very little relating to education. I suggest to the hon. Gentleman at least one educational topic on which research would probably be extremely helpful. That is the vexed question of what language one should teach in—whether to teach in the vernacular, whether to try to find a local common language or whether to teach in English. The French teach in French. We try to teach in the domestic language of the youngster. There are arguments for and against each of these. If the Colonial Secretary would consider including some educational projects in the list of research projects, I am sure that he would find one or two very practical and worth while.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Waver-tree)
I am glad to follow the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson), especially as he has referred to education. I do not fully agree with him in wishing to have more lawyers in Africa. It seems to me that what Africa needs is more technicians and able administrators who are much more likely to form the basis of the wealth that Africa requires.
I agree with the remarks of the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson). If he and the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs will glance at the pamphlet issued by the Conservative Commonwealth Council, known as "The Helping Hand", he will see that there is an immense need of teachers. Take Northern Nigeria as a whole, for example, where only 5 per cent. of the children are at school. The number of teachers should be multiplied by about 20 to deal with the whole child population which should be educated. This problem is so great that probably we as a nation cannot undertake our colonial responsibilities without help from outside. However, I will come to that point a little later.
The Ministry of Education could help in the seconding of teachers overseas and, in the teaching of medicine, I would particularly commend to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary the suggestion made to the Minister of Health that there might be proleptic appointments of those on the registrar grade who can go away for a year and a half to teach medicine and 96 then come back to a consultative post in this country. They might be extremely valuable teachers.
Like hon. Members in all quarters of the House, I welcome the Bill but I often wonder how many people are aware of the work done by the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund in different territories. I only wish that the knowledge that is held by officials and statesmen could permeate not only our critics overseas, in the United States and elsewhere, on colonialism, but also occasionally the actual indigenous people themselves who are frequently oblivious to the heavy burden on the British taxpayer in sending money which could be employed here or in wise investment elsewhere overseas. I am one of those who believe that no nation should be a member of the Commonwealth where the majority wish to leave, provided the minority is properly looked after. I would much rather have an expanding Commonwealth on a smaller but firm base, with people who are determined to accept the liabilities with the assets, the duties and the expenses with the revenue and emoluments.
This money which the House is voting is taken from the British taxpayer and from the saver, and I fear that owing to the actions of men like Dr. Banda, the ultimate financial reservoir to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State referred may be called upon very much more than he thinks. The actions of people like Dr. Banda are not helping in any way the under-developed territories. He is becoming like Dr. Mossadeq was, and, as the effect of Dr. Mossadeq was to make people frightened of investing in many foreign territories, so what I fear is happening in Nyasaland today may scare many capitalists from investing in the under-developed parts of the Commonwealth.
But I welcome the Government to Government loans, and I think the House as a whole pays tribute to the work of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in deciding to make these loans available. I notice that paragraph 19 of the White Paper states:In so far as expenditure financed from Exchequer loans involves the purchase of goods imported into the territory concerned, the availability of funds will not be tied by statute to United Kingdom exports.97 That is very altruistic, but if that is so, it means that our unemployment will not be eased, nor will our surplus capacity possibly be used to the full.
In many ways I should have liked to see the repayment of some of the sterling balances. I know it can be said that the sterling balances can be used by any Colonial Territory that wants so to do, but many of them have invested—and this applies to public boards as well—in medium and long-dated Government stock which is now at a discount, and they are loth to sell that stock and incur a loss. I should like to see Her Majesty's Government lend money against British Government stock held by Colonies which is now at a discount, so that the territory concerned can immediately get the benefit of the funds which it does not want to realise, at a heavy discount and which will in the process of ten years or so return to par. That should be considered.
I also note, as did the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), that the terms of trade of many Colonies have recently deteriorated. I find myself in agreement with him in urging that what was discussed at the Montreal Conference should be looked at again; namely, the stabilisation of raw material prices, and some means of ironing out the peaks and troughs. I do not know whether this House knows that we imported into this country last year approximately the same amount of food and raw materials as we did in 1957, but that the cost was £290 million less.
§ Mr. Tilney
Naturally, our exports suffered, and there are now pockets of unemployment, while some of our very good customers in the Commonwealth are unable to buy our goods. I hope action can be taken, preferably by the whole Western world, to stabilise raw material prices within the framework of the free market. There is no need to have a rigid floor or ceiling, but at least we could enable some of these territories to be able to budget ahead and be sure that they will have some revenue from which they can place orders.
There is. of course, the major problem of the emergent States, such as the West Indies or the very loyal and pro-Western Government of Sierra Leone. What is to 98 be done for territories like these, which will attain their independence and yet are hardly viable? What I believe the Western world wants is another great Colombo Plan, possibly for different regions, such as Africa, and I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will look at the heavy cost on some of these emerging States of, say, the Army. The cost that was borne by this country was virtually 100 per cent. while we were in control, and now these States will have to bear more and more of that cost, so much so that they will be very loth to keep up the Army and may even disband it, with all the possible dangers of Communism then taking charge.
I believe that it is the duty and in the interests of Western statesmen to support Africans and Asians who believe in our way of life. I think that it can be done in some measure in this Bill, but that this Bill only goes a portion of the way which we should like it to go. In the end, whatever my right hon. Friend says, it will be men as well as money that will count, and it is because that is so that I would appeal to certain governments, such as those of West Africa, to treat their own servants as well as some other Governments have done. It is much more easy to recruit first-class men for the services overseas if their predecessors have been wisely and well treated.
There are certain Governments, in West Africa particularly, which have not paid pensions as generous as those paid by the United Kingdom, and far less generous than those paid by other Governments in the Pacific and elsewhere. I hope that will be taken note of, because I believe that it would be to their benefit to do so. I also hope that it might be possible to adjust the British taxpayers' contribution to the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund in some way, so as to take account of that.
In the defence debate last week, my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head) said, among other things, that he thought that perhaps £5 million spent on education in Kenya might be more valuable than two Blue Streaks. In this ideological conflict in which the world is divided, when so much of Asia and Africa are not as yet committed, social and economic help are as vital for the safety of the West as are arms. The trouble is that both cost a 99 great deal of money, and we cannot have both, at least by ourselves. I therefore welcome what is said in this White Paper about obtaining help from outside sources, be it from Germany, the United States, or wherever we can find the money for undeveloped lands. There is no doubt, it seems to me, that spring has come to Asia and to Africa and that everywhere the natural growth, though up till now it has been unsuspected, is pushing up the bare earth which so many of us thought was permanently at rest. It is up to this House to see that that growth is not entangled by any thickets or bindweed, and I commend this Bill as one of the weapons of sound husbandry.
§ 6.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Tomney (Hammersmith, North)
This is the first time I have ventured to speak in a debate on colonial matters, and there are so many hares running that I do not know which one to chase.
I want to refer, first of all, to the closing remarks of the speech, which I thought an excellent one, of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). In essence, he put a plea to the people of this country—the general taxpayers—to face up to their greater responsibilities in regard to the development of the Colonial Territories. It is a very noble sentiment, with which I am sure the whole House will concur, but it is a difficult one to put across to the public. We are all chasing our own particular hobby horses, and while that is true, if Colonial Governments could be assured of increased supplies from the British taxpayer within the next two decades, they would be in a far happier position than they are at the moment.
The operation of the open money market in London and the reduced borrowings adds point significantly to what my hon. Friend said about the economic policy of the Government and the high interest rates being charged. If it were possible, by appealing to the public conscience, either by direct or indirect taxation, for the taxpayers of this country to make up the difference in interest rates between what would be applicable at a lower rate of interest and what would be chargeable at market rates, that would be a great gesture, and 100 it is something which the country will have to consider.
This problem of colonial development, aid and welfare is a tremendous problem. The arguments in the debate today so far have concentrated upon Africa, and in Africa there is enormous mineral wealth, which is easily accessible and within easy means of transportation to the industrial centres of the West where there are the production and manufacturing techniques which can use it. I should think that, since the first find in the Kimberley diamond mine in 1870 until 1939, about £2,000 million has been poured into Africa, and the extent of the development that has taken place since then is shown by the fact that in one decade since the war, that amount of money has been spent in railways, transportation, smelting plants, engineering works, office blocks, schools, roads, irrigation works, claims, sewerage schemes and so forth.
The position of Africa is paramount in relation to the rest of our Colonial Territories. It is in Africa that the feeling of nationalism is springing to life more than anywhere else. It is this territory which finds itself so rich in mineral wealth and it is in this territory also that the aspirations to share in that wealth are greatest. Africa has always had links with the West, has always followed Western thought and language, be it French or English, adapting our customs and modes of government to itself. It is in Africa where the greatest success can be achieved and where the fight will finally be won which will determine what form of government is followed in South-East Asia, the West Indies, and the other dependent territories. This is why it is so important that we should do the right things in Africa, at the right time, and through the right people, that is, of course, the native, indigenous population.
Since the beginning of the century, black Africa has depended upon Europe for its capital development. It has depended upon Western techniques, upon Western managers and scientists and Western forms of government for its development. The fact must be faced that, as colonialism ends, subvention will end. Then what will happen? A plea has been advanced today that the formation of special Commonwealth loans for development as one answer to the problem. It is significant that, at the Montreal 101 Conference last year, the idea of a development bank for the Commonwealth was blocked. Every country does not feel it incumbent upon itself to share the responsibility which Great Britain has taken alone during the past 60 or 80 years. It is important that we should all share this responsibility.
This is no longer just our problem. The British public and the British taxpayer has faced it nobly. I said a few months ago that nationalism in all its forms—I hope, for the betterment of the people concerned—is now rising. But the concentration of political leadership, thought and knowledge is in only a very few men, men who have been trained in Western institutions and who follow Western ways. It is upon them that the responsibility rests of seeing that the people they represent follow the ideas and democratic systems which we cherish in this country. It is upon Dr. Nkrumah, Mr. Owolowu, Mr. Tom Mboya. Mr. Azikwe and Mr. Nehru that the great responsibility rests. They are leaders of what are now political freedom movements. While they may at the moment be able to command obedience, is there any certainty that they will in the future be able to command allegiance?
The British people and the British House of Commons, in their respect for democratic institutions and their desire to see the peoples of the backward nations lifted up, must ensure that other politicians and people of the same colour but with other ambitions do not come along afterwards. Will the peoples of the backward nations, when they have some government institutions, establish institutions which we know as democratic? Let us face it. It has not happened in Ghana as it should. Ghana has an authoritarian government. They have tolerated opposition, but the Constitution of Ghana is worthy of study. It was tailor-made for Dr. Nkrumah, and could lead to a Communist dictatorship.
It has not escaped my notice that the Soviet Government are prepared to establish in Africa the largest embassy outside Cairo. This would be important in every single aspect of African affairs. These are the responsibilities which the African leaders must bear. It is true that Dr. Nkrumah has retained for the moment European officials to help him in government. The need for them will remain 102 until such time as the African native is educated and trained in the arts of government.
The coloured boy in the hotels of Nairobi who takes one to the top floor in the lift looks at a white man in his lift and sees an inscrutable face behind which are locked a knowledge of modern mechanics, electronics, science and technology, but that coloured boy pressing the buttons to operate the lift knows now, for the first time, that it is possible for him to become a Minister, or even Prime Minister, in his own country. This is the growing temper which we must remember in considering our responsibility. A great obligation is placed upon those who are known as the white settlers of Africa; there must be closer integration, greater mixing, and a greater share of responsibility. Time is short. Although it is easy to chant "Freedom", it is another thing to secure it, anchor it, and make it safe.
In the White Paper, although I find that the application of Exchequer grants overall is more or less balanced among the needs of the territories for higher education, medicine, nutrition, land settlement, irrigation and so forth, there is one serious omission. I refer to the amount of money spent on the training of an overseas civil service. Upon the training of the native civil service will depend the success of native governments.
One country, a former dependent territory, which, by virtue of its civil service, should have succeeded beyond all others is India. Admittedly, the problems of India in population, religion, language and so forth are greater than those of any other part of the world, but it is nonetheless true that we left behind in India a trained Indian Civil Service modelled on British Civil Service institutions. Yet the story in India during the last five years has been a story of reducing finances and an ever-worsening rundown in the national economy. India has constantly called upon the World Bank and upon this country for building up her economy. India is a country which has always laid political stress on the warship of one particular person. Once it was Ghandi; now it is Nehru. As the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney), I think, was trying to emphasise, India can become an easy prey to totalitarian government once its democratic 103 institutions break down. It is significant that the political party which came second in India with, I think, 38 per cent. of the total votes at the last election, was the Communist party, the party which has already established a government in Kerala in India.
Politicians and businessmen must keep their calculations within a framework of understanding. If I may express it in this way, the eyes of the backward peoples of the world are now looking to the light of foreign development, and their thoughts are turning to the framework of institutions which they will build up which will determine not only their eventual success but ours also, for we rely upon them as much as, if not more than, they rely upon us.
I should like to see extensive guarantees entered into for the next twenty years. The years 1956 and 1957, with the rundown in world economy, clearly showed the situation with which primary producing countries could be faced. There was a 15 per cent. drop—the hon. Member for Wavertree gave the figures—in net income of primary producing countries due to the fall in Western activity. It may be that with the division of people throughout the world the advanced manufacturing techniques of Western civilisation are more than attuned to the markets available for them. If we were able to extend unlimited credit to China, for instance, the position might be different, but we live in a capitalist society and interest rates and banking institutions do not work in that way.
For any country in Africa to succeed as a progressive economic, viable unit, it would have to devote at least 15 per cent. of its national income to productive investment to take charge of advancing population, developing schemes, new industries, and so on. So far as I am able to ascertain, those figures are not forthcoming or are not available. I think that the figure for West Africa is 8 per cent. and 12 per cent. for Kenya, Uganda, Nyasaland and Tanganyika. Ninety per cent. of their produce is agricultural and exportable and is liable at any time to the fluctuations of world markets should demand fall. The two Rhodesias, where the climate is favourable to white settlement and where mineral wealth is in 104 abundance, have a 25 per cent. national income. There is a tremendous future both for us and for Africans, given time, guidance and wisdom.
It would be tragic for historians in future to record that the West, at its moment of great supremacy in the arts of Government, industry and science, failed in its obligations to the backward people. We should be failing ourselves. The groundwork and framework have been laid. The mind boggles at the extent of wealth that could be developed. Let us consider, for instance, the Kariba Dam project and what the 600 million kilowatt capacity could do, and also the Central African Federation's plans to spend £120 million on road development and £30 million on transport. There is also the projected scheme for the Lower Congo, the Inga scheme, which at the moment is only a blueprint and which is expected to produce 1.6 million kilowatts by 1964.
When one realises that the eventual production of electrical schemes of that sort is in the order of 40 per cent. of the total kilowatt capacity of the United States and Canada, one gets some idea of the terrific potential that exists on the continent of Africa. The native of Africa, the man who lives there and the man whose country it is, has a share in this. At the same time, we must talk with his politicians, who are now emerging. I only hope that we can find a way to lock together their future and genuine ambitions and the fate of the Western world.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)
I hope that the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) will forgive me if I do not follow him exactly in his interesting speech, because I want to concentrate on some rather narrower points.
I imagine that every hon. Member welcomes the Bill in that it makes more money available to the colonial peoples. However, I do not know whether we are all so satisfied on the question of priorities. Are we quite certain that the money is being allocated to Colonies in the correct order and that, when it gets to the Colonies, the most necessary schemes are being undertaken? When I 105 was in the Colonial Service in Aden, it seemed to me that applications for colonial development and welfare funds, when they reached the Colonial Office, became a sort of lottery. If there was great pressure from one Colony, it might receive the money, but there was no certainty.
I wonder whether my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State would say what is the set-up in the Colonial Office and whether there is a commission which studies the needs of all Colonies, or whether it is left to one small Department? I should like to know what the system is.
In the Colonies themselves—I have direct experience of Aden—it was a very fortuitous matter. Perhaps a very able and active departmental head who pressed a scheme received the money for it, but an equally able but, perhaps, less imaginative head of department would not get money for his scheme. I should like my hon. Friend to ensure that there is in every Colony a body, perhaps under the Governor or Chief Secretary, which studies these matters and plans ahead. I have no objection to Parliament voting great sums. I am all for that, in this connection, but I think that we should be absolutely certain that the money is spent in the most valuable and productive way possible.
There have been some developments in Aden recently which reflect great credit on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I refer to the Federation of the Protectorate Rulers. I hope that in any future allocations of moneys the Aden Government and, indeed, the Colonial Office will ensure that these rulers are taken into their confidence so that they can give their advice and opinions on how the moneys should be spent in their areas and what the priorities should be. This is very essential.
The Western protectorate has been through some extremely difficult times recently and I believe that it is only by our undertaking firm military action and also our willingness to help that very barren territory with finance for development which has enabled these rulers to stay with us and to show hostility to the Yemen. It is vital that they should know what is in our minds and how we shall proceed in future.
106 I notice from the White Paper that the amount spent and allocated for broadcasting in Aden is comparatively small—about £50,000. That is not nearly enough. I do not know whether hon. Members realise that some very formidable propaganda against us and our way of life goes out from Cairo daily in Arabic and Swahili. This adverse hostile propaganda reaches the ears of perhaps 12 million people daily. This is very serious. There is, however, an answer if we use our imagination and if the territories—say, Somaliland, Kenya and Aden—get together. It is to introduce T.V. I believe that if that were done over a wide area, and done all at one time, we could cut the ground from under the feet of Nasser and regain the initiative.
I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will consider this matter and discuss with the Governors of the territories concerned and with the B.B.C. and other interested parties the possibility of introducing television soon in that part of the world.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Edwards (Bilston)
I have listened to the debate with great interest. I am sure that we all support the Bill, because it increases our assistance to the Commonwealth and the Colonial Territories, that need this assistance so greatly.
I wish, however, to take up a point made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. M. Clark Hutchison). The hon. Member made a plea for more expenditure on propaganda, with particular reference to Aden, because he feels that it is necessary for us to counter the propaganda of Nasser from Cairo. I remember having a broadcast from Cairo translated to me. I heard to my astonishment a reference to what had happened in Bahrein, a little island sheikdom in the Persian Gulf. Cairo was referring to the Tolpuddle Martyrs of Arabia, where two trade unionists in Bahrein had been deported for fourteen years and shipped in a British battleship to St. Helena, where they are vegetating to this day.
The political mistakes that we make give Nasser propaganda against us and we cannot counter this propaganda merely by increasing our expenditure. We should counter it by making our peace with the legitimate demands of the peoples in the 107 Colonial Territories for freedom. That is how we can win the battle for human freedom and not by an extra few thousand pounds in broadcasting from Aden to counter the broadcasts from Cairo.
Whether we like it or not, a great social revolution is sweeping the world. All the references to double-talk and the harm that honest political men cause in Africa in the speeches they make there do not deal with the fundamental problem which we must face that in the great continent of Africa there are today nine independent African States. We are dealing with a problem that we have never had to deal with before. The Africans in the small territories are no longer alone. They are wanting to make union with their African brothers in nine independent territories. It may be said that they want to ring the changes too quickly. Whether we think this or not, the Africans do not think so and, after all, it is their continent, not ours.
We cannot stop this revolution. African people are demanding a place in the sun. They are demanding the right to run their country in their own way and they are demanding self-government. If there is double-talk in this House, it is not from this side. The double-talk comes from those who pay lip-service to self-government and freedom, but, who, by their actions, help to destroy it. By so doing, they create unnecessary hostility for this country.
There have been references to Ghana. I was in Ghana just before Christmas, when it was my privilege to attend the great African Congress in Accra. I was agreeably surprised at the moderation of those African people, many of whom were having to operate under illegal conditions because the right to organise in trade unions, the right to run their own newspapers and the right to organise political parties were denied to them. They spoke, however, with extreme moderation and rejected every attempt to commit the conference to a policy of violence.
These millions of African people who are claiming their legitimate right to run their own countries are so far uncommitted. There are, however, a great many people who want to commit them to totalitarian ideas. If we do not understand the rights of these people and help them along the road to 108 peaceful revolution, they will go underground and achieve their emancipation by violence. All history, both ancient and modern, should have taught us that simple lesson.
There was a delegation of seven Russians at the Accra Conference. There were two delegates who made the long journey from China. There were five delegates from East Germany. There was a message from Khrushchev and one from Vice-President Nixon of America, but there was no message from the Colonial Office. There was no message from Britain. We, who have the greatest stake in Africa, ignored the conference and swept it away with a smile as if it did not matter. Every African State was represented.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Is it not a fact that despite what my hon. Friend is saying about the lack of initiative shown by the Colonial Office to the Accra Conference, the Ghana Government had sufficient good will to defer the welcome to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association visit until our delegation arrived and kept the Soviet delegation waiting for their official welcome?
§ Mr. Edwards
That is quite true. The Chairman did not announce the Russian delegation until the British Members of Parliament had arrived. That is worthy of note, because in spite of the hostile Press that the conference received, it is indicative that the Africans want to be on our side, or, at least, want to be neutral concerning the future of power politics.
Recently, it was my privilege to visit Sierra Leone, the most loyal Colony in the whole of Africa and one of the poorest and most backward. The annual income per person in Sierra Leone is less than £20. The people's living standards are fifteen times lower than ours and we have been in control of this territory since 1789. Only one child in seven has any opportunity for primary education and there are vast areas of the protectorate which do not have a primary school. There are great areas without telephone services and hard roads.
If any country in Africa or any part of our Colonial Territories needs assistance, it is Sierra Leone. The people there are happy and lovable, without violent organisations at all, and moving slowly towards self-government, making no 109 impossible demands upon us, trying to develop their democratic institutions based on the democracy of the West, with their Parliament and their developing municipalities. But what little assistance they get from us.
I went to an area where they are producing chrome from a chrome mine. There is a population of about 800 people dependent entirely on that mine, and 300 workers are engaged directly in the digging of chrome. At any time now that mine may close down because it cannot compete with cheap chrome going into the country from the Philippines. Surely we have to develop a method of assisting an industry like that. Its closure would shatter the living standards not only of the workers directly employed in the mine, but of the whole community which has grown around this important industrial activity of chrome mining.
There is not a decent hotel in the whole of Sierra Leone. They need a new hotel for the visit of the Queen. They were promised a new hotel, but it is very doubtful whether that hotel will be built in time. It seems a very frivolous thing to talk in terms of an hotel when there is a shortage of primary education and when there is a shortage of hospitals. Nevertheless, it seems a very sad state of affairs when British civil servants have to accommodate official Parliamentary delegations in their homes and the delegations have to be split up because there is a complete lack of adequate accommodation.
Here is an investment which cries aloud for some quick decision. The people need houses. We build houses in Trinidad, through our colonial development funds, for purchase. We lend money. We have organised a building society and we have loaned money to the building society to build houses for sale. The miserable shanties of the people in Freetown, considering how long we have been there, make a very sad commentary on the support we give to our most loyal of peoples.
I noticed in Sierra Leone one vital development which, I think, is tremendously important and which should be supported very substantially by this Parliament. It is a development which does not need vast sums of money; just a few strategic loans for colleges and schools. That is the development of the producer co-operatives.
110 In 1950, there were about 29 co-operative societies in Sierra Leone. This cooperative organisation of producer farmers growing cocoa, coffee and rice, these credit co-operative societies, have grown in the last eight years. Since 1950 the development has been threefold, both in membership and in turnover, and there are over 300 co-operative societies in Sierra Leone today. It is very inspiring to find in all these villages these good, hard-working co-operative farmers who in a very short period of time have organised themselves to the point where 35 per cent. of the cocoa and coffee crop of Sierra Leone is now organised by them.
The hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirk-dale (Mr. N. Pannell) and I visited a great swampland where 1,800 acres previously of swamp had been allocated to co-operative rice farmers. They were cultivating this land which had never grown anything but reeds before, and they were producing their own rice. This seems to me a very inspiring development, because it answers one of the political problems which are troubling us in this debate, political problems which have been mentioned time and time again in the short debate we have had so far.
The development of voluntary cooperative organisations solves one of the problems of democracy. It shows the simple African farmers that by their own voluntary activities, by mutual aid, they can build up an organisation of their own and run it themselves, run it in their own village, run it in their own region, and run it in their own country. It shows them what democracy really means, and democracy means doing something for oneself and not allowing a superman to do the job. The more we are able to encourage African farmers along the road of self-help and mutual aid through cooperative farming the more we can help to solve this great political dilemma of our times.
It seems to me fantastic that in our Western world, and particularly in our country, the metropolis of a great Commonwealth, a great colonial area spread all over the world, in this age of automation and electronics and nuclear energy and H-bombs, of all this tremendous power which mankind now has at its disposal, as we are moving into an era of superabundance, we have not yet found the proper technique of making possible 111 the flow of our abundance into these undeveloped or underdeveloped areas which exist in such deplorable conditions, where poverty is almost indescribable. It seems to me that we have got to approach this problem in a much more majestic way than ever we have done in the past.
I once tried an experiment in my trade union. The members of my union are characteristic of trade unionists all over this country. It was suggested to me that merely passing resolutions about aid to underdeveloped areas was not enough. I was asked to produce a plan whereby the chemical workers could give practical assistance to underdeveloped areas in Africa, and I produced a plan, and to my amazement that plan was carried overwhelmingly by all the members of my union. The only people who voted against it were a handful of Communists.
That plan was based on the deduction of 6d. per week out of every £1 earned by the members of my union. They agreed to that. They said they were willing to accept deductions at source amounting to 6d. out of every £1 they earned every week, to be allocated for colonial development, as long as the money could be withdrawn at the age of 65 and carried the normal investment rate they got from the Post Office.
It seems to me that this is the kind of approach to which the British workers will respond. If we could obtain a response of that nature from the people of this country working in industry based on 6d. in the £ per week, we should have an income of over £250 million a year. That sum would be withdrawn from purchasing power. It would help to halt inflation and bring prices down, and it would provide a constant flow of capital investment into all the areas which need this capital. It might be thought that this is a fantastic idea, but it is not. It has been tried in one union, the Chemical Workers' Union. At its annual conference it accepted it; its members are willing to co-operate on the basis of such a plan with colleagues in other trade unions.
This is a modest idea but it is an example of the kind of fundamental approach which we need in this age of challenge to deal with the vast problem of poverty and misery and underdevelopment which characterises great areas of 112 the world. In so far as the Bill is a modest attempt to increase our contribution to colonial development, it must have our support, but it seems to me a very minor method of dealing with a vast problem which can be solved only by much more majestic thinking than we have done up to now.
§ 7.22 p.m.
§ Sir John Barlow (Middleton and Prestwich)
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards) very closely in his remarks. He was rather critical of the Government's policy in colonial development in the past, and he described as a sad commentary upon it some poverty-stricken areas in Africa where he said we had not contributed enough. I have agreed with so much that has been said on the other side of the House today that I do not wish in any way to be provocative, but I am delighted to see the interest now taken by hon. Members opposite and the change of attitude on their part towards the Colonies and the Dominions which has come about in the last ten or fifteen years. It is astonishing how their outlook towards responsibility for the wellbeing and development of the Colonies has changed. I appreciate that enormously, but when they criticise the Government side of the House and speak of a sad commentary on our record they should remember their responsibility in the past.
As a result of the increase in the wave of nationalism which is sweeping Africa and the whole world, there are now probably more intractable problems connected with the Colonies than there have ever been before. Everything is changing rapidly, and I do not envy my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary in the tremendous problems which face him from day to day. They are individual, diverse and of frightful importance. I appreciate enormously that in the present holder of thy: office we have a man of such vigour and ability to tackle these problems in the way he does. I do not say that I agree with everything my right hon. Friend does, but I admire the way in which he is tackling these terrific problems.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) was rather critical of the amount of loans raised in the City of London for colonial development. I urge the hon. Member to remember that 113 large numbers of profitable and responsible companies, over the centuries, have been developing in the Colonies and many of them have been ploughing back substantial amounts of profit for further development there. It may be said that that money has been used to produce more copper in Northern Rhodesia and more rubber in Malaya, but if profits are ploughed back wisely they are bound to help a territory enormously. It is probably as good if not a better way of doing it than sending the same amount of money out from the City of London for capital development. It is infinitely better to have profits ploughed back by people who know these territories and the difficulties of development than that the Government should handle the matter through the Colonial Development Corporation or the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund organisation.
The difficulties in the Colonies are so great and diverse that development can be handled infinitely better by private enterprise than by Government agencies, but I welcome the Bill because by means of it we are arranging to spend vast sums on development which is not appropriate to private enterprise—on roads, education, electricity supplies, and all kinds of things which the Government can and should do. But I urge the Colonial Secretary to be very certain that this money is used to the best advantage. I can think of some occasions when loans of this kind have not been used in the best possible way. We know that it is so difficult to spare sufficient money for colonial and Commonwealth development that we should not stand aside and watch it being spent unwisely. In this context I urge the Colonial Secretary to think particularly of Africa.
Attention has been drawn to the great dependence of certain Colonies on one or two commodities. The same applies to certain Commonwealth countries. We think of Ceylon as being dependent on tea, Malaya on rubber and tin, and Australia on wool and meat. Many Colonies are in the same predicament. All these countries suffer very severely when there is a fall in commodity prices. I know that there are difficulties in stabilising prices. There have been many failures when it has been attempted in the past, but in view of its tremendous value if it were successful I urge the Colonial 114 Secretary to investigate the matter again. Some schemes have worked very well, and, I admit, some have been deplorable, but the alternative for these countries of being so dependent on one or two commodities is the development of secondary industries themselves. Usually, that is very uneconomic.
I have visited a number of Colonies and parts of the Commonwealth. One sees a large and emerging Colony anxious to be much more self-supporting than it is. Because it knows the risk of relying solely on one or two commodities, it goes to great lengths to encourage small industries and to diversify agricultural production, neither of which is so efficient and economical as the primary industry on which the country has so largely rested. I can see their predicament. If a country relies entirely on one or two commodities, it knows the risks of a fluctuating market and must make some endeavour to find an alternative industry. If we can help these Colonies or emerging countries to find some method of stabilising the one or two commodities which they can produce economically, that would prove of far greater help than lending them vast amounts of money to be used on development. Any such stabilisation scheme would require a fair amount of capital. As I have said, I realise the difficulties, but I do not think that they are insuperable; and the advantage would be so great that it is worth while trying to achieve something in this direction.
While travelling in the East in recent months one has observed the Russian tentacles appearing where they have never appeared before. In the last ten years one has heard so much about Russian expenditure on armament for the cold war, but I regard an economic war as far more dangerous than any shooting war with Russia. Because of her comparatively low standard of living, Russia has accumulated very great wealth. There is a great deal of Government trading which results in large profits being made. When Russia decides to enter a market or deal in a commodity, prices are entirely a matter apart. Should she decide on a policy, she possesses such wealth, because so much of the cream has been skimmed from her economy, that economically she can do absolutely anything that she wishes.
115 I consider the very strange arrangements which have been made with South-East Asia countries to be far more dangerous than the possibilities of a fighting war. So many of these comparatively small emerging countries seem to think that a barter arrangement is the best, the most economic and the most modern way of doing business. Some of them get tied up in the most extraordinary agreements. I do not propose to tell the House about such arrangements this evening, but in travelling in the East one comes across fantastic contracts into which one would not expect any reasonable man to enter. But the Russians and the Chinese are persuading these countries to do those extraordinary things and it is up to us to help those countries in a different direction.
We must either pump more capital into them—provided that it will be used well—or perhaps it might be advisable to go to the extent of entering into barter arrangements with them, although I do not like such a procedure except in cases of absolute necessity. The fact is abundantly clear, however, that Russia is trying to obtain an economic stranglehold on many of these new and emerging countries: sometimes by buying up their commodities and then forcing those commodities on to the market at a very embarrassing time. I urge the Colonial Secretary to watch these new arrangements very carefully.
It has been said by hon. Members opposite, and I agree, that we have a great obligation to these backward people for whom we have been largely responsible for centuries. We have helped the backward peoples of the world far more than any other country has done, and we should not forget that. When Russia or any other country makes glib offers of great amounts of money it is very important that the people of those countries to whom such offers are made, and who have benefited in the past from the good Government of this country and from our help, should remember what we have done for them during the last century.
We still have obligations to these people. I hope that the wave of nationalism which is sweeping across the world will not blind them to what we have done in the past. We want to help the people of 116 these emerging countries. The danger is that a few educated people—Africans, it may be—who desire independence, but have not the backing of a sufficient number of educated people, may prove a great danger both to themselves and to the world. We shall have to help them forward but we must not proceed too fast, otherwise it may prove embarrassing for them.
It is up to hon. Members on both sides of the House to translate to the electorate of this country the great obligations which we have to the people of these emerging countries. I was delighted to hear the hon. Member for Bilston say that his trade union had agreed to make some contribution by way of a loan. I do not think that the scheme outlined by the hon. Member would be practicable, but suggestions of that kind are immensely valuable. If we can get the people of this country to understand their responsibilities to people overseas, and if we can explain to them the advantages which will accure to them and to the Commonwealth in the future; if we can get our people to understand that and to act on it, we shall have gone a long way to solving many of the great and intractable problems which face the Colonial Secretary today.
§ 7.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
I agree with a good deal of what has been said by the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Sir J. Barlow) although I think he was rather extreme in his view of the rôle that private enterprise should play in our Colonial Territories. Certainly private enterprise has an important part to play, but we must not forget that there are areas where, if there is to be industrial expansion at all, it must be through Government intervention, either directly or through the Colonial Development Corporation.
The Colonial Secretary referred to the importance of this colonial development and welfare legislation as applied to fairly small territories. I think he mentioned areas with a population of 50,000 or less. I wish to discuss the application of the Bill to that kind of territory and in particular to one small Colonial Territory in which I have a special interest because I visited St. Helena for a short time during last year. Happily, there are no acute constitutional difficulties in 117 St. Helena which might give rise to violence. Nevertheless, the island has its great problems and it is a microcosm of the difficulties facing us in larger Colonies. The island is only 47 square miles in area and it has a population of less than 5,000. But its size, and the fact that its people are enduringly loyal to this country, is no excuse or reason for treating its problems lightly.
I found that the money which has been made available since 1947 from colonial development and welfare funds has been tremendously appreciated by the inhabitants of St. Helena. The total sum, since 1945, including current schemes, amounts to £417,000—not £500,000 as the Under-Secretary of State said in the debate on St. Helena on 8th December.
Part of this has been spent on a new general hospital, a mental hospital, and an old people's home. Some of it went on new houses and roads. That was money well spent. But out of £172,000 provided for the period 1955–60, £82,000 has been set aside for agriculture and afforestation.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) mentioned the importance of food production this afternoon. This is a matter of special importance in St. Helena. Expenditure on agriculture and forestry has left very little for development in other directions, notably on housing. Most of the £82,000 set aside for agricultural development has been spent on land reclamation, irrigation and reafforestation. While one naturally agrees that these are matters of first importance, nevertheless little money is left to settle people on the land and to purchase machinery, seeds and stock.
There is an acute Shortage of green vegetables and meat in St. Helena at the present time. As the Under-Secretary of State well knows, very many young men are out of work and have no prospect of work. They would gladly go on the land if they were suitably encouraged. This would be a sensible course where there are so many unemployed and no prospects of employment. It should also be borne in mind that of the area of 47 square miles only one-third is cultivable. I hope that the Colonial Office will give this matter very careful thought when allocating money under the Bill. As I said in this House on the last occasion 118 St. Helena was debated, the needs of the people there are precisely the same as our own. They are people of British stock, British outlook and British requirements, but they seldom, if ever, eat meat, cheese, eggs or butter, and seldom drink milk. If there should be a serious epidemic on that island these food deficiencies would have very grave consequences indeed.
Let me give one example. On 12th February, I asked the hon. Gentleman to give details of meals provided for school children on the island. He replied:Meals are provided for just over 200 out of St. Helena's 526 school children.That was an error on the part of the Under-Secretary of State, because there are 1,270 school children in St. Helena. He was badly briefed. Perhaps he will look it up again. He said that the meals served in the schoolsconsist of three slices of bread with margarine, meat extract and cheese, and tomatoes and fruit when available. In addition, there is a general distribution of reconstituted milk, and fish-oil capsules."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1959; Vol. 599, c. 224]The latter were provided by U.N.I.C.E.F. When I was at St. Helena the children were eating thick slices of bread and margarine and very little else.
Home-produced food is therefore a primary need on that island. I hope that the Colonial Office will do something about it as a matter of urgency. Having been there, I am acutely concerned about the health of the children and the old people. I will give the House another example of the dietary of an old person on St. Helena. This is taken from the Report for 1957 of the Social Welfare Officer of the island.
It is the case of a widow of 73 who lives alone in Jamestown. She owns a small, dilapidated house and lives in it. She gets 5s. per week relief from the Government. 'This is what she lives on in a week: two loaves of bread at 6d. a loaf; 1½ lbs. of sugar, at 8d. a lb.; 2 ounces of tea; a quarter of a pound of butter; two mackerel; a quarter of a gallon of potatoes; half a pound of lard; 2 ounces of salt; one box of matches, and two bottles of paraffin at 6½d. a bottle. The needs of that old lady are equal to the needs of any old lady of 73 in this country, yet she has to subsist on that diet. Surely the money under the Bill 119 could be used to improve conditions of life of old people on the island. I can assure hon. Members that such help would be tremendously appreciated by everyone who lives there.
I mentioned housing. I found when I was there that housing conditions are utterly appalling. Of the grant for 1955–60, £10,000 has been set aside for housing, but the sum is inadequate as I am sure the Under-Secretary of State would agree if he went into the situation carefully. I hope that a much larger sum will be made available as the result of the Bill. The Social Welfare Officer said in his 1957 Report on the houses:I visited homes, and regularly found overcrowded conditions, leaking roofs, crumbling walls and splintered boxwood flooring infested with white ants.I went round several of the houses in the island, and those were the conditions that I found. The Colonial Office should improve housing conditions in St. Helena.
I estimated that 277 families, each with two or more children, were living in houses with three rooms or less, and the condition of those houses was largely what I have described. The people are clean and proud. They want better houses and they would appreciate bathroom facilities in them. Surely we can do better than £10,000 in five years.
I turn to education, to which many hon. Members have referred in this debate. The provision of new schools in St. Helena is good but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) asked, what is the use of a new school if we have not sufficient teachers? There are almost no trained teachers in St. Helena. Out of 68 teachers there, I think there are two trained teachers, apart from the education officer. More teachers are the great need at the present time. Money is provided out of colonial development and welfare funds for the training of one island teacher per year in the United Kingdom. That is, of course, excellent but the major drawback is that when these teachers leave the island they must sign a declaration in which they agree to serve the Government of St. Helena for three years for the following salaries: men £180, rising by increments of £10 a year to £250; women £160, rising by similar increments to £230 a year. Therefore, a St. Helenian teacher who has 120 been trained in this country and returns to St. Helena is paid a salary which is substantially less than the salary paid to a British teacher there. The disparity is far too great. These teachers are robbed of the incentive to return to the service of their community.
In passing, I may mention for the sake of illustration, that the salary paid to those trained St. Helenian teachers on their return to the island is equivalent to the transport allowance paid to Colonial officials on the island. How can we expect those St. Helenian teachers to return and give service to their community? I believe the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) mentioned the importance of a scheme of secondment from this country to the Colony. A great contribution could be made if the Education Department of the Colonial Office were to arrange for teachers from this country to serve in the Colonies for periods of about 18 months. It might be that three years in a remote Colony like St. Helena would be rather too long. If proper inducements were given and trained teachers were canvassed through the different education authorities of this country, many young teachers would volunteer for service.
In this Colony the intelligence of the children is extremely high. It is at least as high as the average in this country. There are more than 1,200 children who have no opportunity at all for further education. I went around the schools and found the children extremely intelligent, yet I found that when they leave school at the age of 14 they have no future ahead of them. These are not an indigenous people in the sense that African people are indigenous, for, when we colonised the island in 1659, there was no one living there. We have a special responsibility to these people. It is our duty to give them better opportunities. In answer to a Question I asked on 12th February the Under-Secretary said that for teachers:Consideration is being given to intensive in-service training."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 12th February. 1959; Vol. 599, c. 224.]This may well be of help but it is really not an answer to the problem, as we know from long experience in this country.
The people of St. Helena should also have a greater voice in their own affairs. 121 If a Bill of this kind is to achieve complete success, there must be co-operation between this Government and the people of the areas which receive the subventions. I have suggested to the Colonial Secretary, for example, that there should be elections to the Advisory Council in St. Helena. In all conscience, that is a modest proposal. The colonial officials in St. Helena know that well. I travelled the island thoroughly. I spoke to the people, and I think I got to know them better in five weeks than many of the colonial officials have done in two or three years.
I am satisfied beyond any doubt at all that the people of St. Helena desire the right to vote. The Under-Secretary has made it clear that the Colonial Office thinks otherwise. Why is the Colonial Secretary so adamant about this? Have not the lessons of recent history been learned? Is it the case that riots must precede progress? Here is a people, intelligent and loyal to this country, asking for an elementary right which is refused by the Colonial Office. I strongly advise the Government to look at the question again. They have all to gain and nothing to lose by so doing.
I welcome the Bill and hope it will have a speedy passage through all its stages. I hope at the same time that the problems of this small, remote island—which so often are forgotten, probably because there are more acute problems in the larger territories—and the elementary rights of these people will be recognised without further delay.
§ 7.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
I am sorry that I am not in a position to follow the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C, Hughes) in his most interesting account of his visit to St. Helena. I shall pick up only one point he made. If I heard him aright, he said that the people of St. Helena appreciated the help which has been given. That is very welcome news. I wish it could be said of all the territories to which we have given and are giving help.
I have in mind a country much nearer to us, Malta, whose former Prime Minister seems to be one of the most unappreciative persons on the face of the earth. He seems to have caused the Secretary of State for the Colonies more difficulties 122 than any other politician in the Commonwealth. I only hope that the people of Malta themselves are much more grateful than, it would appear from his statements and attitude, is Mr. Mintoff.
I wish to congratulate my right hon. Friend on producing this very comprehensive White Paper. It may be that since I have been in this House I have not discovered all the White Papers on colonial development and welfare which have been issued—although I know that reference is made to the subject and statistics are given every year in the Annual Report of the Colonial Office—but this White Paper seems to put things much more clearly and to give statistics in a very neat and comprehensive table better than anything else I have seen. What is more, the statistics are comprehensive for the whole period of the twelve years, virtually since the war, and I am sure they will be very useful in giving us information quickly, information which. I hope will not be disputed or contradicted in subsequent documents. When trying to glean information from statistics, whether about the Colonies or any other phase of political life, one so often finds that statistics given one year are contradicted by those produced subsequently. That makes comparison difficult. I hope that this document is not only comprehensive but more or less permanent.
My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. M. Clark Hutchison) referred to the need for more broadcasting, particularly to Aden. That is necessary almost everywhere, but I see from the table at the back of the document that in the last twelve years we have spent about £1,750,000 over the whole Colonial Territories in broadcasting, films and public information, out of a total of £155 million. That seems a very small amount to spend on this most important subject. Despite what is said by the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards), I am sure that countering adverse propaganda from Cairo Radio and putting forward positive information which is not countering anyone's propaganda, is vital. Although I have not examined the statistics given for the future. I hope the proportion which is to go to this very important service will be greater in the next five years than it has been in the last twelve.
Mention has been made of housing. The figure is £5.6 million for the last twelve 123 years. Several hon. Members opposite have stressed the importance of education. The figure in that case is £28 million. I cannot help feeling that in order to provide happy conditions our first concern should be to improve housing. I know from my visit to the West Indies three years ago how great was the need for better housing there at that time. It is probably still as great to a large extent in that part of the world, and I hope that the proportion of this money which is spent on housing will be stepped up.
In that connection, I wonder how much has been done by private enterprise in providing housing in the Colonial Territories. I know that this is a matter in which I shall not carry hon. Members opposite with me, but it is private enterprise in this country which has broken the back of the housing shortage in the last ten years, and I wonder whether more use cannot be made of it in the Colonies.
My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) referred to the paragraph in the White Paper about funds which are used for the purchase of goods not being tied to United Kingdom exports. He mentioned that as being a very altruistic way of doing things. I entirely agree that it is very altruistic, and I am tempted to ask whether it is not too altruistic. My right hon. Friend mentioned that Jamaica was seeking a loan in the New York market. I hope that the United States attitude to the granting of that loan to Jamaica, if it is for the purpose of goods, will be as altruistic as the United Kingdom attitude, and I hope that no strings will be attached to United States loans.
That brings me to another problem which also concerns the United States and the West Indies. We have been told that in the next few months the present restrictions on the imports of canned fruit from the dollar area are to be removed. When that happens it will throw the canned fruit industry of the West Indies open to the most fierce competition from the huge canned fruit industry of Florida and California—industry which depends for its living largely on its huge home market and has only a very small proportion of its output devoted to exports. If that industry seriously sets about the task when the dollar restrictions are removed, it will be 124 able to compete with the canned fruit industry of the West Indies on most favourable terms from its point of view. I can see nothing but ruin for this West Indies industry unless something is done to prevent this huge dollar competition.
This brings me to a point which is coupled with the reference by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) to the European Common Market. He referred to the danger to exports, particularly from some of the African territories, to continental Europe, and he was thinking primarily of cocoa, coffee and timber, which at present find a market in the six countries of the European Common Market. This market may go to corresponding Colonial Territories of those European countries—other West African territories which produce the same goods—as the effect of the Common Market is developed.
May I make a point which I have made many times in the House, particularly in debates on colonial affairs? It is time that we devoted our efforts to ensuring that there are markets for the produce of the Colonial Territories with which we are at present concerned. It is no good our spending huge sums of money on them if there is not a market for their produce when it is grown or, if it is industrial goods, when it is manufactured. I cannot help repeating what I have said so many times before—that we must think seriously whether the economic policy which we are pursuing at the moment, tied as it is by the restrictions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, is enough for the purpose and is also enough to help our export trade in the present situation.
Much of Africa is not allowed to discriminate in favour of this or any other country, under various treaty obligations, although we give Imperial Preference in our home markets. The whole system needs revising in the light of post-war needs and the effect of inflation on the value of many of the specific preferences and also in the light of modern conditions.
My hon. Friend the Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Sir J. Barlow) mentioned the danger of the stranglehold which the Russians sometimes obtain by buying a commodity from a Commonwealth country or Colonial Territory and launching it on the world market. That 125 threat can similarly be met by our recovering the right to regulate our Commonwealth trade as we think fit.
I am certain that if we are to get the best results out of colonial development and welfare, and if we are to produce the soundest economies for the Colonial Territories and help them to stand on their own feet, able to repay the loans which are made to them and to derive the full benefit from them, we must go into the question of assuring them a market and of restoring the system which, after all, helped to build the old British Empire in the past and which, I am sure, will help to preserve the future.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
Too often in the Chamber we talk about wars and alarums of wars, but tonight we are speaking of a war in which we can all join, on both sides of the House—a war upon want. I think that this is completely non-party, or all-party, and that all hon. Members can unite to spend as much as we honestly believe we can safely afford out of our national kitty for these people overseas.
At the moment about 70 million people in the dependent territories are our wards. We shall possibly hive off almost half of them within the next 18 months, when Nigeria becomes independent, but we shall still be left with tens of millions of people in our charge. In addition, there are many hundreds of millions in other under-developed dependencies and backward territories who are living in want and poverty. It is estimated that 60 per cent. of the world's population is well below what is even a meagre standard of subsistence. We should all welcome such a Bill as this and should say to the Colonial Secretary, "More power to your elbow, and see whether you can add to the amount which you are spending in the years to come."
Doing some mental arithmetic, I understand that we have about £90 million carry-over from our last assignment, to which we are adding a sum enabling us to spend about £25 million per annum over the next five years. That is a considerable sum compared with what we have spent in the past.
§ Mr. Johnson
In any event it is £25 million a year for the next five years. We can say that this is modest and that we should spend more, and indeed I think that we should spend more. For once I am in the same school as the right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head) who said the other evening that he would sooner spend £5 million on education in Kenya than buy a Blue Streak or a Bloodhound, or whichever was the missile to which he objected.
Before I turn to more detailed comment, may I say a word about the speech of the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell)? We always expect hon. Members opposite to laud the virtues of private enterprise. He speaks about the builders in the United Kingdom having solved the housing problem. He should remember that they are operating among 50 million people who have an average annual income of £300 a year. He speaks about these gentlemen in the building industry, these big building firms, providing the customer at home with a house to let or for sale, but surely he realises that that is not quite the same as providing houses in the Colonial Territories. The problem of a firm in Tooting Bec or Surbiton putting up houses here is not the same as that of a firm putting up houses in Nyasaland, where the annual income per head is probably less than £20. The people there could not afford the payment of a small sum, let alone a mortgage of £15 a month on the Government's 8 per cent. or 7½ per cent. at the moment.
Let us face reality. In these large overseas fields it must be done by public money. It must be done by the Colonial Office and by the Government of the territory. There is not a consumers' market for what the hon. Member for Wembley, South lauds. Let us be realists. It is alleged that we on this side of the House are idealists. Hon. Members on the other side of the House are realists. Let them not say that one can have the captains of industry building houses for the poor people in the Colonies.
§ Mr. Russell
I was not wondering whether they could do the whole lot. I was wondering whether they could help.
§ Mr. Johnson
That is infinitesimal. Where is the market for building in 127 Nyasaland, which has a population of 2½ million and income per head of less than £20 per annum? What about Tanganyika, with a population of 8½ million Africans with an annual income of probably about £25 to £27 a year? What about Kenya, which is a little better off? I cannot understand this argument. I do not find it possible when I go overseas to look at some of our Colonies.
I have listened to quite a few speakers this evening. Some hon. Members underestimate the nature of the problem. I do no think that we shall ever catch up, as United Kingdom taxpayers, with the task of giving these dependent peoples what they need in the way of housing, wealth, education, and so on. We can only nibble at the problem. As we go into the Colonies with our hygiene, modern medicine and hospitals, the population increases by leaps and bounds. We can never catch up.
Paragraph 11 of the White Paper says:The terms of trade of many colonies have recently deteriorated.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think I am right in saying that while the national income of the Colonies is rising 4 per cent. annually, the population is rising by 2 per cent., taking the whole field. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] I am reassured. That being so, we are doing something more than merely standing still.
§ Mr. Johnson
Yes. I will not say that we are going backwards, but we are on a very slow-moving escalator. Sometimes it is not even going up at all. Paragraph 11 of the White Paper says:In the short run the cost of running and maintaining roads, schools, hospitals an similar services often exceeds the additions to national income and Government revenue to which they give rise.Despite the Minister's statistical comment about a 4 per cent. rise in national income and a 2 per cent. rise in population, is it not a fact that we never catch up? We are like Alice in the Looking Glass all over again. The harder we run the harder we have to run to keep our pace almost at a standstill.
This is a difficult matter. It is not a party matter. If the Labour Party were returned to power in six months' time, it would face the problem. I think that 128 we could make a better job of it than the Government. We might give a little more than was suggested by the hon. Member for Carshalton. We might cut down on those horrible missiles that were spoken of and spend a few million pounds in Kenya.
Any economic authority would tell us that the gap is widening, despite the statement that the national income is rising by 4 per cent. while the population is rising by only 2 per cent. The gap is widening, not merely between their needs and desires, which are whetted by having contact with Europeans. The more they mix with us, the more they desire. They need clothing, bicycles and housing. Even so, the gap is widening between the standards of the wealthy western European societies and these underdeveloped territories, particularly in Africa. This is a highly dangerous situation, because other people are not slow to point this out, particularly down the east coast and centre of Africa, where there is an inflamed social and political situation, due to the clash between the outside European elements in the territory and the indigenous peoples.
I will now say a few words on investment in Africa. I have listened this evening to people who have said that Africa has enormous wealth. Has it? Africa is not a wealthy continent. What is left if one takes away the Union, where we have exploited for many decades diamonds and gold? What is left if one takes away the cocoa and palm belt of West Africa with timber and some iron ore in Liberia. Guinea, Sierra Leone, and so on? What is left if one takes away the coffee of Kenya and Northern Tanganyika and lastly the copperbelt of the Belgian Congo and the Northern Rhodesian copperbelt? Most of Africa has soil which is alkaline. Most of Africa lacks water. It needs enormous sums for irrigation.
Tanganyika is a place in point. It is a semi-desert. People have spoken of Africa being an Aladdin's Cave, suggesting that all one has to do is to tap a merchant on the shoulder in Liverpool for a ship to go to Dar-es-Salaam and bring back fabulous treasures. That suggestion takes a little swallowing sometimes. We shall have to invest enormous sums in capital in Africa. I mean thousands of millions of pounds a year, not £25 million a year, as the White Paper says.
129 I am staggered by the astronomical task which confronts us. Kenya has an annual budget of £31½ million. It is estimated that, if we attempted to give each little boy and girl in Kenya an eight-year elementary education, as we had in this country before the First World War, it would cost £22 million a year. That is the measure of the task. We have had to find money also for docks, harbours, police, administration, hospitals, housing, and so forth. This is an endless task, but we have to get on with it and do as much as we possibly can, firstly by providing current services, like the social services, and, secondly, by pumping in capital and investment, to earn dividends in five or ten years' time.
The Secretary of State, and also my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. James Callaghan), spoke of the need to stabilise economies. So did the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Sir J. Barlow). It is very important. The hon. Member spoke about monoculture and these places with only one staple product. Even this Government have had sufficient sense to carry on the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement which means that Barbados, Fiji and others have had something to hang on to. Heaven help them if they had had to compete with cheap Cuban sugar in open world markets.
There is no doubt whatever that we should take more steps to attempt to stabilise these societies overseas and attempt to put in at least a basement, if we cannot have a ceiling, upon these primary products which they export. in case we move into a world recession. As the White Paper says, as the years have gone by we have been buying more cheaply fibres, metals and other things. If that continues, there will be less real income amassed by these Colonies. We need to stabilise their position. The Minister smiles, no doubt both inwardly and outwardly, at my party's policy of bulk purchase. There is no doubt that the policy of bulk purchase, as with sugar, has been an enormous stiffener to the economies of these territories.
I want to say something to the Minister which I need not say, because he knows it as well as I do. The days of cheap food have gone for ever, both in the East End of London and in the West End. If cheap food has gone in this sense, we at 130 home must pay for it. We have been living on "tick" in the past.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If the hon. Member will say that in the East End of London at the next General Election and encourage other candidates of his party to say it, I am sure that it will be appreciated. Many Conservative Members of Parliament have said it for a long time.
§ Mr. Johnson
As the Minister knows, said it in my constituency and many others in 1950, 1951 and 1955. I say it too in 1958 and 1959, because it is an honest thing to say. I believe that the electors like honesty from both sides of the House. Honesty pays dividends. We should be quite open about it, as the Labour Party was at the 1956 party conference, when the miners' leader, Sam Watson, talked in those terms to 2,000 delegates. At least 9 million members of my party know it, and all the trade union members heard it.
The Colonial Secretary well knows that our policy is:0 earmark l per cent. of our national geographical income for this special and deliberate purpose, which he has so worthily outlined in this White Paper. Within its technical limits, this is a good White Paper. It is clear, succinct and easy to get one's teeth into. It is well documented. All I say is that more money should be spent in this way. That is my only quibble at a White Paper that is well worth looking at.
The Minister speaks of a new departure in loans. In paragraph 19 he gives himself a pat on the back, saying that since our Colonial Territories could not get sufficient money on the home market, this magnificent Government intended to make sure that they got the money they wanted a—but at ½ per cent. over the rate charged by the commercial money market. In other words, whatever the London moneylenders charge the Government, the Government will charge the territories a little more to make sure that the territories get what they want. I understand that the rate is to be ½ per cent. over that in the money market, and perhaps the Colonial Secretary will tell me if I am right.
§ Mr. Johnson
I shall be delighted if I am then contradicted, because that is 131 the impression that one gets from the White Paper.
Why must these very poor, non-viable territories like Gambia, Somaliland, Nyasaland—of all places—have to go to the money market and pay 6 per cent., 7 per cent., or 8 per cent? Why cannot the Government turn their mind to something which, in the past, United Kingdom Governments on both sides had—the Public Works Loan Board in which was earmarked a certain sum of money for local authorities; in this case, obviously, overseas territorial Governments—for these special social purposes?
We have that for education and housing, I know, but it is obviously necessary in regard to health, and education in particular, where we do not get money back as we would from investments in gold mines and sisal plantations. On all counts we should enable these poor overseas territories to get from a special fund—some financial chest specially earmarked for the job—supplies of money for internal development as well below a rate of 5 per cent. I would say that for such a job the rate of interest should be 2½ per cent. or even 2 per cent.
On this side of the House we believe in a cheap money policy, not only at home but in these overseas territories. It is all very well to talk of raising market loans, but I think that the Minister would show himself more worthy of the mantle of Joe Chamberlain, which was flung at him earlier in the debate, if, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said earlier, he became a little more Socialist.
Listening to the earlier part of the Colonial Secretary's speech, I thought that he committed himself to saying that the limit in this field was purely finance½
§ Mr. Johnson
Is it not the fact that today in all the newspapers we see advertisements for this and that technologist, this and that engineer, this and that skilled operative, while even in some of the territories where we have earmarked more money we still have difficulty in getting the people we need?
This is particularly the case in education. In Africa, especially, we need 132 gifted teachers, or people who will impart teaching methods to future African teachers. What is so badly needed are teachers, gifted teachers, to go out from this country to the territories, and to lecture in their colleges. Earlier this evening the hon. Member for Leicester, South-East (Mr. Peel) spoke of education. We believe in this on both sides of the House. We all agree with what was said by the hon. Member, and by my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) and others about the need for more education in the Colonies. We want technical teachers, and teachers of all kinds.
I would say just this about technical teachers. When I go into many African institutions I do not find a willingness on the part of Africans to become technicians. Far too many of them wish to become white-collar workers. Students are not so happy in the workshops in Northern Nigeria, where they are Muslims; or in the South, where they are negroes. I should like to see many more Africans go into the technical side. Very often we have technical facilities, but not sufficient Africans willing to take off their coats and get on with this important job.
Above all, the big need is for teacher-training colleges. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) spoke about Nigeria. I will deliberately skip Nigeria, but will, if I may, give some figures relating to other dependent territories. Startling progress has been made in Ghana—particularly since independence, but even before it. A dynamic has been released in Ghana. Knowing their own future, the people are going ahead in a co-operative effort. They have got together on adult education and day normal education. At present, Ghana has nearly 21,000 teachers for a population of 4½ million.
Let us compare that with the situation in some of the other territories for which we have full and undivided responsibility. Sierra Leone, with a little over 2 million Africans, has 2,000 teachers—about 1 per 100. Kenya, with 6¾ million Africans, has 9,000 teachers. Tanganyika, with just short of 9 million Africans, has little over 9,000 teachers—again, about I teacher to every 100 of the African population. Nyasaland, where at the moment we are 133 having these disturbances—and educational facilities, of course, have a connection there—has a population of 2,650,000, and it has 6,000 teachers. Poor Gambia has 247 teachers for 275,000 people. Northern Rhodesia, my last example, with 2½ million Africans, has 4,800 teachers.
Our most important task is to concentrate on getting more teachers—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am obliged to the hon. Member for giving way. Would he say what the situation has been over the last five to ten years, and thereby represent to the House the spectacular increase there has been in recent years?
§ Mr. Johnson
I entirely agree that as each year goes by we are getting more and more teachers, but do not let the Colonial Secretary become a Communist like those in the Soviet Union who use such wonderful statistics. They can be wonderful if we begin with a base level of very small numbers; one can then say, "My word, we are up by 1,000 per cent." That is what happens in the Soviet Union. A collective farm may have a field with 1,000 cabbages. The next year there are 2,000 cabbages, and the claim is that there has been an increase of 100 per cent. That, of course, is true in such circumstances. But do not let us say that in the territories. It all depends on the original base line. Of course, we are going up. I only plead for an even bigger spurt to be made, and even more energy to be shown, by the party opposite. The Minister agrees with me, but it is a matter of degree. As always, the two sides are by and large on the same path, but we wish to go, and will go, much faster than his side has been going.
My last question is the same as was asked earlier in the debate—who allocates the money? It was stated earlier that sometimes the naughty boys tend to get a larger allocation of the money. The right hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do the amount of money that has been spent in Kenya on the Kikuyu land unit as opposed to the Luo of Nyanza. There is the feeling that those people who go along quietly and loyally do not get quite what the others do. I should like to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman that the Somalis, and particularly those in Gambia and Nyasaland, require much mare to be spent on them than they have so far had.
134 There is a close correlation between the disturbances in Nyasaland and the undeveloped or backward states in the territory. Some years ago there was a scheme involving the Shire Dam, but it was never finished. That is a good example. There are many other projects where more money could be pumped in this forgotten little Switzerland in Africa. These people do not like the influence of Southern Rhodesia coming over the Zambesi, but they are also backward in education and in their economic development. I hope there will not be a correlation, a mathematical distinction, between the amount of the disturbance in the territory and the amount of money which is to be spent on it.
I said earlier that this matter of overseas aid is an astronomical task. Like Alice Through the Looking Glass, one has to travel quickly in order to keep on the same spot. I ask the Minister to invite help from other sources. In spite of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and various Commonwealth resources, and even allowing for private enterprise, such as the copper tycoons in Lusaka ploughing back their money, it seems to me that American money will be invested increasingly in Africa. American money is coming into Kenya at this moment. I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to be too proud to accept American help in culture, literature and education as well.
There has been reference to the need for books and education of all kinds. America can help us with adult education particularly. We have asked that staff at Makarere University College should be released to go to Tanganyika to assist in adult education. Why the Government have never permitted this I do not know. It was highly successful in Kenya and in Uganda. Yet Tanganyika has lagged behind. I need not emphasise the importance of adult education, because if there are illiterate mothers and fathers they provide a bad home for the youngsters to go back to after school. Illiteracy is bad for citizenship and it also prevents the people from understanding what their leaders tell them. We must make massive inroads in eliminating adult illiteracy, alongside the orthodox task of putting the boys and girls into school.
135 Let us not be averse to outside help. We have spoken earlier of the 1 per cent. which my party was going to allocate to overseas development. Let the Minister consider a scheme dike S.U.N.F.E.D. There is no doubt, in view of the size of the problem, that sooner or later this has got to be tackled on an international scale by the United Nations. I would say to the Colonial Secretary, at this late hour, because this has no effect on the Bill, that in the dark hours of the night he may think about this matter of international co-operation and working together in what I think is the noblest war of all wars—the "war on want" in these under-developed territories.
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Pannell (Liverpool, Kirk-dale)
It is a very great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), who has such a wide and intimate knowledge of colonial affairs, especially in Africa, and who expresses his views with such moderation, a moderation which I should like to feel could be shared by some of his colleagues.
The hon. Member made many pertinent remarks, one of which I thought was exceptionally significant, when he implied that the more successful we are in the Colonies the more problems we create for ourselves. By introducing hygiene and sanitation, we increase the expectation of life, and we provide more mouths to feed. I was very impressed when I was visiting Northern Nigeria, to which the hon. Member for Rugby made reference himself, on being shown a chart at a research department which indicated the incidence of Trypanosomiasis in Nigeria since 1931. It showed that, in 1931, 100,000 cases were notified, while in 1955 there were 5,000. When one considers how that fatal disease has been brought within such limits, it becomes quite clear that, in that case alone, the population of Nigeria has increased immensely as a result of these devoted efforts by these research experts.
There are one or two points which have been made during the debate on which I should like to comment. The hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards), who I regret is not in his place at the moment, but with whom I spent a happy fortnight in Sierra Leone two months ago, made 136 some very good points, particularly in regard to the co-operative movement, about which he is so enthusiastic and on which he is such an expert. I am quite sure that in his speeches to the people of Sierra Leone he did something to encourage the growth of that movement, which I think is the best of all influences in Sierra Leone. When I praise the co-operative movement, I am not referring to the type of co-operative movement that exists in this country, but to a co-operative movement of quite a different character. It is a movement in which farmers are getting together for the collective sale of their products.
The hon. Member for Bilston also implied that, as a result of his visit, he agreed that nationalism had developed such a head of steam that it would be net only wise but right for us to grant independence to every country that asked us for it. He suggested that it was a right of people to be independent. I think that if we accepted that view we should abdicate our responsibilities. Not only would these services of which I have spoken—hygiene, sanitation and so forth—collapse, with disastrous results for the people, but, I would add, it is not the purpose of independence that a small oligarchy, capable perhaps of filling the offices of state, should govern a country whose people are wholly, or almost wholly, illiterate and incapable of understanding the workings of democracy. This is a trouble into which we so easily fall. It is not a question of the government of the people by the bosses for the bosses; it is a question of the government of the people for the benefit of the whole country.
The hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) referred to what he said was the virtual collapse of democracy in Ghana. We must remember that fifteen years ago the word "democracy" was almost unknown there. We governed these Colonies in an authoritarian manner, and there were only the beginnings of consultations with African representatives at that time. In a space of ten or fifteen years, having imposed a Parliamentary democracy upon these people, a thing which we have been developing for centuries, we expect them to work it in the same manner as ourselves. It is inevitable that there should be strains and stresses in the operation 137 of democracy in these areas, and this lends emphasis to the point that we can do more harm than good by granting independence too hastily before a country is fit for it.
I very much welcome the Bill, because it does the only thing which can be done in the circumstances; it is designed to help people to help themselves, providing the means for the growth of their economy. In my view, it would be wrong for us to extend these privileges to countries which have been granted independence. It would place an impossible burden on this country if, no longer responsible for wise administration in those territories, we were to allow any country with independence to act according to its own devices and to come to us for massive financial help. The Colonies have to choose. The French Government, for example, have said to some of their Colonies, "If you prefer to do without us, you may". These countries cannot have their independence and still be dependent upon this country.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and other hon. Members spoke about the allocation of funds under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. I admit that I have been puzzled about this. I should not like to subscribe to the view of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, that the amount allocated is in direct proportion to a country's disloyalty or the level of its political agitation, although the figures I wish to quote do, perhaps, lend some support to that view.
I have taken four Colonies, British Honduras, Swaziland, British Guiana and Sierra Leone. British Honduras has a population of 60,000 people. The colonial development and welfare allocation is £4,100,000, or £68 a head. British Guiana, with 500,000 people, has £15 a head. Swaziland, with 240,000 people, has £8 a head. There are very wide disparities there. Sierra Leone, a country in which I now take a particular interest after my recent visit there with a Parliamentary delegation, has a population of 2 million. The colonial development and welfare allocation is £4 million, or only £2 a head. What is the reason for these wide disparities?
British Honduras and British Guiana have not been very dutiful members of the Commonwealth in recent years. Perhaps there is some other criterion. 138 Perhaps it is the degree of need. Need. it seems to me—it is the only yardstick we have—should be measured by Government Revenue; this, surely gives some indication. British Honduras has a Government Revenue of £1,300 million, or about £20 a head. British Guiana has a Government Revenue of £9 million or £18 per head a year. Swaziland has £6 per head per year, and Sierra Leone has only £5. On this reckoning, Sierra Leone is the poorest of them all and has the smallest allocation per head under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts.
Is there some other criterion? Perhaps progress in the country should be taken into account.
In British Honduras, as far as I can see, primary education is provided for every child. For a population of 60,000, it has 17,000 primary school places. British Guiana with a population of 500,000 has 106,000 primary school places which gives every child the chance of primary education. Sierra Leone, with a population of 2 million, has only 62,000 places, which gives an opportunity of primary education to only one child in seven. It would therefore appear that Sierra Leone justifies a much larger allocation than it has received, or that the other territories should have received a much smaller allocation.
There is, however, another factor to be taken into account. I refer to the agency engaged in the development of the Colonies, the Colonial Development Corporation. We find that whereas the Colonial Development Corporation has spent £7 per head of population in British Honduras, £38 in Swaziland and £9 in British Guiana, it has not spent a penny in Sierra Leone.
I know it must appear that I am making a special plea, but I was very much impressed during my recent visit to Sierra Leone by the great need for development, particularly in education. It would appear from the figures which I have quoted that the allocations are not made on the basis of need, but in inverse ratio to need. As I think the hon. Member for Bilston said, Sierra Leone is an ancient and loyal Colony. It is governed at the moment by an African Government of very moderate and reasonable views, headed by that enlightened statesman Sir Milton Margai. It is one of 139 those Colonies which, in my view, deserves phased help from this country over a period, particularly in education.
I saw many schools in Sierra Leone while I was there which were built with money from the colonial development and welfare funds. They stood out in startling contrast to the squalid little buildings that were the common means of education in the territory. They were indeed so grandiose that they struck quite an odd note, and one could not help but reflect that it would be far better to build a larger number of smaller schools than to spend £50,000 or £60,000 on a limited number of grandiose buildings.
When I raised this matter with the Minister of Education, he told me that the schools were not built to the Department's own specification but that the conditions of building were laid down by the Colonial Office. I would be most grateful if my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary or his colleague the Under-Secretary would kindly take note of that fact. I should like to know whether the Colonial Office imposes the style of building on the Colonial Territories for schools built from the colonial development and welfare funds. I was told that they were compelled to build schools of this grandiose character under the instructions and specifications of the Colonial Office.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Pannell
I am glad to hear the denial of my right hon. Friend. There is certainly scope for far more schools in Sierra Leone, and I hope that my plea will result in a greater allocation being made to that territory from the funds already available and the further funds to be made available by the Bill.
On several of these schools in Sierra Leone, there appeared a copper plaque prominently displayed at the entrance with words to the effect that the school was built with money supplied by the people of the United Kingdom through colonial development and welfare funds. I was pleased to see these plaques. They are a constant reminder of what we are doing deliberately to prepare these people to take over their own responsibility of Government, and I would like to think that plaques of this kind should be a condition of all such schools built in the future.
140 Like the hon. Member for Rugby, I should like to see more money made available, but I recognise that however much we strain ourselves we should never be able to raise these countries to a status even comparable with that obtaining in this country. We are responsible for countries with populations totalling 83 million. If we were to endeavour by our efforts, even over a generation, to raise these people to our own standard, we should certainly beggar ourselves in the process. Indeed, our own standard would not remain where it is but would fall seriously. I welcome the Bill as an earnest effort in the right direction, and I am confident that the House will give it an unopposed Second Reading.
§ 8.52 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Blenkinsop (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)
I wish to intervene to ask one question. I would not dare to do more as owing to other meetings on rather comparable subjects I have not been able to hear as much of the debate as I should have liked. I wish to ask only one question concerning the problem of medical personnel doing work within colonial development and welfare schemes in territories such as the West Indies, where there is a severe lack of adequate medical personnel, including, for example, pediatricians and others for children's diseases. We have seen some excellent new hospitals built there, but there is an urgent need for more medical staff.
I wonder whether any progress is being made, not only in trying to get agreement with our medical service in the Commonwealth, which is established jointly with the Colonial Office, but also to see whether it is not possible to get an agreement to regard to medical work in the colonial service as ranking pari passu with work within our own National Health Service to encourage people to go out there, where they are so badly needed, but who at present are still worried lest when they go they lose the chance of jobs which otherwise they might have got in this country. I hope that the Secretary of State will keep this point in mind.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)
In his opening speech, the Colonial Secretary gave me a charming welcome in my new rôle, for which I thank him. He and I have crossed swords on many an 141 occasion, but never in such close proximity. I find the situation a little strange if not altogether unpleasing.
The Colonial Secretary said that he anticipated that I would exercise my critical faculty upon his Bill. To my surprise, however, as I listened to the development of his theme, I found that he was forestalling quite a large number of my criticisms. It was clear from his speech that the premises on which the right hon. Gentleman is working have changed since the last time he introduced a Bill to increase colonial development and welfare funds. He no longer claims, as he did in 1955, that it is no good the House of Commons voting any more money than the limited increases provided for in the Bill because there simply is not the manpower available.
That was his main argument in 1955, and I was surprised and pleased to hear him say today that the limiting factor now is one of finance and not of trained manpower. I am glad we have got that one out of the way because it enables this House to face its duty quite clearly. We are no longer able to say, "With all the generosity in the world, it is no good our doing any more because the Colonial Governments simply could not take up the money we might make available for they have not the trained personnel and technicians."
I was glad, too, to hear him admit to the existence of two of the most important factors in this situation of colonial welfare finance, first of all the burden of the recurrent charges arising from the development expenditure which has already been made, a burden which is now crippling colonial budgets, and secondly the fact that this burden is increasing at the very moment when the terms of trade are making it most hard for colonial Governments to balance their accounts.
It is against that background and in that context that we now have to examine this Bill. Impressed as I was by the Colonial Secretary's arguments, I am not equally impressed by the action he is proposing to take under this Bill. Of course, everyone in this House welcomes any increase in expenditure on colonial development and welfare, and, therefore, for this advance much thanks, but we must ask ourselves tonight certain searching questions. The first one is, is this 142 increase really enough? Has this House begun to grasp the size and urgency of the problem which meets us?
We had earlier today a tremendous furore in this House on political issues arising in one of our Colonial Territories, and we were made conscious as that debate proceeded, even if we were not before, that Africa is on the move and that we were dealing with one of the aspects of a highly explosive situation. Of course, colonial territories everywhere are coming to a new self-realisation, and we should be very foolish if we were to fail to recognise that with every year that passes the colonial and backward areas of the world will judge the West by much tougher standards than they have ever done in the past, and that what we could get away with five years ago no longer matches the changing mood of the dependent and backward peoples.
I know that the Colonial Secretary can argue that he has a double virtue. Not only is he proposing to increase the actual amounts of expenditure on colonial welfare and development, but he is doing this at a time when the populations in our Colonial Territories are on the decrease. However, even recognising that we have had during the period since the war a steady increase in the sums we are making available for these purposes, we have still got to look at what these grants mean to these territories in actual relief in an increasingly urgent situation. Today, even with the increases proposed in this Bill, the amount which we are expecting to spend will work out at only 13s. per head per year, which is 4½d. per head per week, for these desperately poor Colonial Territories which are now politically aflame as they have never been before in our long history. And they are thinking, even if we are not, of the contrast between their situation and ours.
Although we may say, "Look what good boys we are. Year by year we have increased this amount," what have we really done? What sacrifices have we imposed upon ourselves? What drain have we made upon our resources? What have we given up? We tend to be very hypocritical and sanctimonious about it, but can we say that on balance we have given up anything at all?
Looking at it in purely financial terms, in the period 1946–55 the total amount of colonial aid that we have given from 143 the colonial development and welfare schemes has amounted to less than one-thousandth of our national income. Even if we add to that loans raised on the London market, to which the Colonial Secretary referred today, it still works out at less than two-thousandths of the national income.
I begin, therefore, by saying that I feel we must have a greater sense of urgency about this problem than we have shown so far, particularly because one of the reasons for the virtue which the Colonial Secretary is claiming in making increased amounts available at a time when the colonial populations are decreasing is the very unfortunate political decision to exclude from the colonial development and welfare schemes the emergent territories. If we were doing as we should be doing and keeping them on the balance sheet of colonial development and welfare, this amount per head of population would look very much shabbier. When we decide not to apply this aid to territories the moment they become independent, it means that we cut out countries like Ghana.
The gross revenue per head in Ghana in 1956 was about £15. She received between 1946 and 1958 an average annual amount of aid of 1s. 4d. per head. Not a great deal, was it? Yet we cut it off as the price of independence. General de Gaulle could not do better. Let us take Nigeria as another example. In a debate in 1955 the Colonial Secretary spoke very movingly of the tour which he had just made of Nigeria. He said:Nobody who tours that great country … can fail to realise how important a factor in its development has been, and will be, colonial development and welfare money.Nigeria's gross revenue per head then was £2 2s., and she was getting aid working out at about 1s. 3½d. per head per year. It was not much, but on the Colonial Secretary's own showing Nigeria was so poor that that small sum made a tremendous difference to her. Yet earlier, in justifying his refusal to extend colonial aid to territories which are reaching independence, the Colonial Secretary told us:… Territories that are approaching full self-government are on the whole Territories whose financial position makes the importance of colonial development and welfare money far less than it is in most other Territories.144 Which version are we to take? Nigeria's income has not risen so spectacularly that she still does not need our help.
It smacks somewhat of the hypocrisy which we sometimes bring to these colonial questions that the right hon. Gentleman should have gone on to say:Those of us who have genuinely put ourselves behind the policy of greater self-government in the Colonial Territories do not wish to make them more dependent than they are, because with that, political or other advance becomes a mockery."—[OFFICAL. REPORT, 2nd February, 1955; Vol. 536, c. 1119–24.]For us to advance an argument like that to countries who desire both political independence and economic help in order to enable them to make that political independence a reality does not do us any Good in the backward areas of the world.
If the Colonial Secretary thinks that economic aid from this country would undermine the independence of these emergent territories, that it might have strings which would be humiliating, he has a remedy which we on this side of the House have advocated. Let him back the scheme of S.U.N.F.E.D. under which we should channel this aid through the United Nations—a policy which Her Majesty's Government have not been particularly outstanding in supporting. I am afraid that the real trouble is that in this Bill we are still prepared only to do too little and to withdraw our aid too soon.
It is, of course, countries like Nigeria who at the moment are most in need of aid. Yet Nigeria is within eighteen months of independence. Look at her position now. It is true that her revenue per head has gone up to about £2 10s. But her expenditure per head has gone up to £3 10s. 9d. in her budget. In West Africa in February of this year there was an interesting report of the Budget speech of Chief Festus, Nigeria's Minister of Finance, indicating the tremendous financial problems facing that country in its attempt to finance the development programme mapped out for 1958–62. In that four-year period Nigeria plans to spend £112 million, and the Finance Minister pointed out that he has to meet a gap of £58 million. From where will he meet it? He proposes to try to raise some local loans internally. He also said that he 145 would make full use of the United Kingdom Government's promise to make Exchequer loans to Commonwealth countries which could not raise money on reasonable conditions on the London market.
The Finance Minister said that even taking all those possible sources of revenue into account,the greater part of the gap left after using all their other resources would have to be filled from inside Nigeria. He then explained that the recent heavy increases in import duties on petrol, cigarettes, alcohol, cloth and clothing, hardware and motor vehicles would produce probably £10 million in the next three years, his Government's share of which would go to capital expenditure. Some of the items taxed can stand the increase; but even the price of food in the markets has already jumped up as a result of the increase in the petrol tax, and the poorer classes of Nigerians are paying a heavy contribution to their country's development.We are proposing to cut off aid to this Commonwealth country when it becomes independent, and the poorest sections of the community will have to close the gap by taxation on the necessities of life. How can we hope to keep the Commonwealth together by that kind of approach to its problems'?
When we try to examine whether or not this Bill is adequate to meet the problem we must recognise that it comes at a moment when a large number of Colonial Territories are facing deficits. Take Tanganyika as an example. She had a budgetary deficit in 1958–59 of £1.2 million. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke—not the hon. Member for Darwen, but the special representative for Tanganyika at the United Nations' Trusteeship Council—pointed out that the situation facing them in 1959–60 is even worse. He said:We may expect lower revenue from income tax and customs. The fall in oil seed prices, the severe fall in cotton prices, the expected severe fall in coffee prices, and the probable reduction of capital expenditure in both public and private sectors suggests a decrease in customs revenue figures. Thus the economy is unlikely to be able to support expenditure in 1959–60 at any higher level than in 1958–59 and it may well he at a lower level. Unless there is an unexpected and very marked improvement in our revenue this must lead to a cutting back of the social and other services which the territory so badly needs.What are the causes of these problems facing colonial budgets? The first and outstanding one, as that speech reveals, is the fall in the prices of primary products. It has been estimated in the G.A.T.T. document. "Trends in Inter- 146 national Trade", that the prices of primary products have fallen by 5 per cent. since 1955, at a time when the prices of manufactured goods have risen by 6 per cent. The whole balance of trade is being turned against the Colonies at this crucial moment in their development schemes.
As one hon. Member after another has pointed out, this is the irony of the development programme which we are launching. Once we have begun it and have encouraged and helped the Colonial Territories to begin these development schemes, the need for our help is greater, not less, because of the mounting recurrent charges arising from them. They build a new school and they have to pay more teachers. This situation is frightening people in Colonial Territories which have embarked upon development schemes. Others are only able to balance their colonial budgets by means of short-term advances. Indeed, this is the very reason why the Government are rushing through these loan proposals. They know that so many colonial budgets are being held together by the string, as it were, of these short-term advances.
Look at the terms on which these loans will be made available. This is the most iniquitous part of the Bill. It really is not any answer to a Colonial Territory that is faced with a fall in the price of primary products, plus a mounting bill for servicing the development schemes which they have already set on foot, to say, "You are finding it difficult to raise money on the London market. Therefore, we will make loans available to you at rates of interest which The Times has estimated will be 5¼ per cent." Not only that, but the absolutely ludicrous position is that the loans must be repaid by annual capital instalments added to the interest.
This is done for purely doctrinnaire reasons because the Government insist upon giving priority to the London market. The Colonial Secretary repeated, as though it were something to be proud of, that the Government believe that this new form of loan which they are advocating should merely be loans of "last recoil." For that reason, he has deliberately made the terms of the loan unattractive. Territories must go to the London market first, in an inflationary situation, and compete with other demands for capital. "Burden yourselves", they are 147 told, "with the high rates of interest on ordinary market loans. Only if that fails can you come to us, and then you will pay not only high rates of interest but will repay the capital in annual instalments."
I can hardly believe that the Colonial Secretary can have advocated this. He knows the Colonial scene too well not to appreciate what this must mean. What is the good, for instance, of going to Tanganyika, the Government of which has a budget deficit this year, and telling her that she can close it up by borrowing money when, if she borrows, she will only increase her problem next year, when her revenue position will be even more precarious?
This just does not make colonial administrative sense. We on this side of the House say that to meet the problem which is growing increasingly acute because of this worsening in the terms of trade in the Colonies there is only one way, and that is by grants adequate to close the gap or loans—if loans there must be—at specially cheap rates of interest. In our colonial economic policy document we state quite clearly that in our view loans of 5 per cent. are too high and we shall see to it that when we get a Labour Government no Colony is held up in its development plans because of excessive rates of interest for the money it has to borrow.
Many hon. Members have referred quite rightly to the educational needs of our Colonial Territories. Certainly if we are to break the vicious circle of shortage of technicians to get development plans going that is the point at which to do it. Education must have a very high priority. I agreed with many hon. Members who spoke about this, but this is the field in which the burden of recurrent charges weighs most heavily. When I was in Nyasaland a year ago—
§ Mrs. Castle
Yes, I understand that the Dominion Party in the Central African Federation fought the last Federal elections on the promise that if it got into power I should immediately be declared a prohibited immigrant, but that was closing the stable door after the mare had gone.
148 When I was in Nyasaland, I had the very great pleasure and privilege of dining with the first African woman to get her teacher's education diploma in this country—at Bath. She was teaching in the Women's Teacher Training College in Blantyre. She said, "We want to expand the intake to this teacher training college to a double-stream entry. We have got 100 applicants this year but are allowed to accept only 36 of them because the Nyasaland Government have cut down their educational budget." I went to see the director of education to confirm the fact and had a long talk with him on the development plan. He showed it to me and said, "Yes, it is true. We cannot expand the teacher training as much as we should like because if we expand, get more teachers and increase teaching in quantity, the teachers' salaries in primary schools are the biggest recurrent item in our development plan, and we cannot afford it." That has been cut down, yet, even with these reductions in Nyasaland's education budget, she will face recurrent expenditure on education alone by 1961 which will be nearly four times the 1953 figure.
Economies of this kind are having to be enforced in a country like Nyasaland where only 24 per cent. of the children of school age are in Government or assisted schools. Yet we talk about the need for economies. What we really need in this country is an all-party effort to educate the people of this country about the urgency of the problem. It ought to be done on an all-party basis, because—let us face it—it will mean telling some hard truths to our own people. It is going to mean asking them for the first time to accept, shall we say, some delay in the advancement of their own individual standards. It is a task we ought to accept as a country which really believes in the Commonwealth There is only one way to do this. That is, to set our people a target which they can understand.
That target has been set and the principle established in the discussions in the United Nations, where the underdeveloped peoples themselves could speak of their problems and try to bring them to the attention of the world. As a result of those discussions it was agreed that it would not hurt the wealthier nations of the world to set aside 1 per cent. of their national income every year for the 149 development of colonial and backward territories. For this country that would mean an expenditure of £170 million a year.
In reply to this point which we have pressed, the Colonial Secretary has given different answers at different times. In a debate in January, 1958, for instance, he told us that this 1 per cent. was too meagre and that the Government were doing more. He said, "You ask for 1 per cent. We are doing not 1 per cent. but 1¼ per cent. in our £200 million investment in the Colonies." He has changed his tune a little today, for he has admitted that 1¼ per cent. covers investment in the whole of the Commonwealth, including the wealthier countries, who ought to be contributing to the backward areas and aught not to be on the list for aid.
I was interested to note the contrast between that and what was said a year earlier by one of his hon. Friends, the Under-Secretary of State, and we must have this policy made a little clearer by the Government, because they are apt to change their tune as elections approach. Having derided what we have been advocating far several years, they suddenly adopt it on the eve of an election. That is what I gather the Colonial Secretary is trying to do with the policy of investing 1 per cent. I would remind him that in November, 1957, in reply to a Question by Sir Ian Fraser, the then hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale asking about this "phoney idea" of ours of spending 1 per cent. of our income on the Colonies, the then Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies remarked,if this is regarded as an Election promise by the party opposite, heaven save our country if they ever get into power again and this expenditure has to be put into effect"— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th November, 1957; Vol. 577, c. 1126.]I do not know whether the Colonial Secretary takes that view or whether he takes the view that we have nothing to argue about because he is already doing what we have advocated.
In assessing what should come within our 1 per cent. we should not include private investment in the way in which the Colonial Secretary includes it, because private investment is not the answer to the problems of the Colonial Terri- 150 tories. As Barclays Bank Review pointed out some time ago, private investment in the Colonies has mainly gone into plantations, mining and general commerce rather than industry, and it certainly does not go into the provision of basic public services, without which nothing else can be done.
In any case, in reaching our figure of private investment we should always remember that we have to subtract from what we put into the Colonies the amount which they have put into the sterling area through the dollar pool. If we set one against the other we find that our figure is not very grand. The Government themselves in a recent White Paper estimated that the expenditure from public funds by this country in 1956–57 on colonial development and welfare schemes, the Colonial Development Corporation, export credits guarantees and through the International Bank amounted to only £36 million. Even taking the new increase into account, I would say that the most generous estimate of this pure aid would be that our expenditure is still running up to only £60 million a year.
I therefore answer the first question—"Are we doing enough?"—by the most categorical statement, "No". We must set our sights higher in the economic field just as we are having to set them higher in the political field with every week which passes. What would have been sufficient for yesterday is no longer sufficient for today.
Moreover, we have to realise that the economics and the politics of these matters are very much linked. We claim that we have gone beyond the approach of the 1929 Colonial Development and Welfare Act, which set out quite nakedly to consider colonial development and welfare purely as a means of promoting "commerce with or industry in the United Kingdom." In those days we admitted quite frankly that we were interested in the Colonies only as a source of raw materials. Now we say that we have got beyond that and it is all charitable donation on our part. Is it? Are we not still all the time looking at this from the point of view of our own interest first and the Colonies' interests second? Certainly the Government's loan provisions in the Bill are an outstanding example of that. The loans are assessed, not in terms of what 151 the Colonies need, but by purely commercial criteria that are suitable for this country and not for colonial needs.
I agree with hon. Members on both sides of the House—particularly the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson)—who have said that they were at a loss to understand the basis on which the distribution of these grant allocations is planned. It presents a curious picture. As the hon. Member for Kirkdale quite rightly said, it does not seem to have any very clear pattern or theme behind it. Some of us suspect that there is the wrong pattern or theme behind it. Some of us fear that purely African states like Uganda, states which we can gladly hand over to the local people because there is no entrenched white interest, are coming worst out of this deal, although they need most help. Uganda, with a gross revenue per head of about £3 7s. 6d., has been receiving 7¾d. per head on an average as an annual issue of grant, whereas Kenya, with a gross revenue per head more than four times that, has been receiving 2s. 3d. per head. As other hon. Members have done, I could go through the whole list. We would find it very difficult to understand on what basis this is being done.
Surely this means that the time has come to alter our whole approach. It must no longer be a question of our doing something for the Colonies. It must be the Commonwealth as a whole, and the Colonies as a whole doing something for each other and for themselves. There must be a pooling plan. It ought to be the Colonial Territories, sitting round a table with the richer members of the Commonwealth, who should decide where the limited resources ought to go. There ought to be a Commonwealth Development Council so that we could have a Commonwealth Development Plan. It is all the healthier and all the better if there is an interchange, an inter-lending, an inter-giving, so that we can stop this patronage from outside and from above and begin to identify ourselves for the first time with the minds and the needs of the colonial people.
One of the most revealing remarks the Prime Minister ever made was in the debate on the Queen's Speech last autumn, when he was speaking about 152 how the terms of trade had helped our balance of payments, had helped us to get by. He said:We have had a bit of good luck perhaps." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th October, 1958; Vol. 594, c. 29.]What does that little bit of luck mean? It means that in the past two years the fall in the import prices of our basic raw materials has been 15.7 per cent. That may be "a bit of good luck" to us. It is naked disaster to the primary producers of the world. It is time we dropped that sort of language, because it reveals that we are still living in the wrong era. We are living in the era of patronage. It is time we began the era of identification.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Julian Amery)
I hope that I may begin by congratulating the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) on the first speech that we have had from her from the Box. In this House, a first speech is traditionally known as a maiden speech. Perhaps we ought to term a first speech from the Box a widow's speech, and cast a tear for the loss of freedom it sometimes represents.
The hon. Lady said that my right hon. Friend's premises had changed a good deal since 1955—so, of course, have circumstances. It is the part of a good Conservative to adapt himself to changing circumstances. But one thing has not changed as much as some who spoke in that debate thought possible at the time. The right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) then said:However, the right hon. Gentleman will not be in his present position when the next Bill comes forward …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd February, 1955; Vol. 536, c. 1130.]—five years later. I am glad to say that the Celtic eye of prophecy was dim that night.
In these turbulent years since the war most of our Colonial debates have been on political subjects, filled with passion and controversy. It is rather a relief to the House—and the contrast was well illustrated by the skirmish we had after Question Time this afternoon—that this evening we should be dealing with the constructive and development aspect of colonial affairs. We are, in a sense, fulfilling what Lugard called the dual mandate: our trust to the Colonial people for their development and welfare, and 153 our trust to the world that, in accepting and assuming responsibility for Colonial Territories we would be ensuring that the resources of those territories would be available, not only to their peoples and to us but to the world as a whole.
The details of the Bill have been fairly thoroughly discussed, and the amounts to be spent are clear enough. In the five years ahead, we are proposing to spend £95 million in new money, as against £80 million of new money in 1955, and there is an unspent balance of £44 million this time, as against £40 million last time. That means that the total, in money terms, is about £139 million, as against £120 million in 1955. There has been some depreciation in the value of money though, even so, there is an increase in real terms, and that increase is considerably augmented when we take into account the fact that two large territories —Malaya and Nigeria—are not included in the provision for the years ahead.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) very rightly asked whether the amounts we were putting forward were sufficient for the need. He stressed the serious problem of overpopulation that threatens so many of the Colonial Territories. As he knows, the relative increase of population and of productive capacity varies tremendously from one territory to another. Overall, the increase in income has been about 4 per cent. and that of population about 2 per cent. We are, therefore, still just beating it, but it would be misleading to think that this applied in every case. There are territories in which the balance has been going the other way.
The hon. Gentleman asked what the difference was between the requirements of the Colonies and the allocation we were putting forward. We have not based the Bill's provisions on detailed plans prepared by colonial Governments—in most cases, they have not made plans so far ahead—but there is very close contact and liaison between the Colonial Office and the different colonial Governments. We have based our estimates on knowledge of the plans they are considering, on our assessment of their financial prospects and needs, and on an assessment of the amount of development that the territories can carry out, from the point of view of their physical capacity, taking 154 into account the participation and contribution that they themselves will make to the different plans that are possible.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East and my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. M. Clark Hutchison) asked whether we should have special machinery for determining the priorities. I am a little doubtful whether a matter or this sort can be delegated to a committee. Very often the decisions turn on matters of policy. The very special grants which are being given to Malta are an instance of the kind of thing I have in mind. The allocations will be made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and, as last time. Parliament will be informed of what they are. There will be plenty of opportunity through the ordinary machinery of Questions to probe the decisions that we have taken. We are working on these now.
There are two types of allocation in the main—a rather small but essential allocation devoted mainly to research, and the great bulk of the allocation which will go to the different territories. In my view, though I may be wrong, research and communications are really the key to development and welfare—the building of roads, railways, bridges and harbours on the communications side, and research into both health and agricultural development. Agriculture, after all, is the subject with which 90 per cent. of the population are concerned. It is still their way of life.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Will the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend think about this question of machinery between now and the Committee stage? From what the Under-Secretary says, it means that a civil servant—I am sure very estimable and hard-working—in the Colonial Office has to have the major responsibility for these decisions. They cannot all be considered in full detail by Ministers. Is there not a lot to be said for having a group of people to whom these matters could be submitted and who could advise the Colonial Secretary in the light of their knowledge of the Colonial Territories? It would submit the judgment of the civil servant to the arbitrament of people who are at least as able as he is to make a choice between priorities.
§ Mr. Amery
No, it does not work in that way.
Education and health are, of course, absolutely vital because the human resources of these territories are in many cases more important—certainly more important morally, and even economically they are more important—than their physical resources.
On the subject of education, the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) was rather worried about the proportions allocated to education. He asked in particular whether the recommendations of the Lockwood Report on East African university education would be accepted and financed by colonial development and welfare funds. The Report has only just been published and is still under consideration by the East African Governments. If its provisions were to be accepted it would certainly be eligible for colonial development and welfare assistance. I think the hon. Gentleman was a little overlooking the fact that development and welfare funds are only one source of education expenditure. The vast bulk of expenditure on primary and secondary education in the Colonies is financed by the Colonies' own budgets.
The part which colonial development and welfare plays is mostly in capital expenditure. If it interests the hon. Gentleman, I can tell him that since 1946 colonial development and welfare contributions have been £12 million—indeed, nearly £13 million—on primary and secondary education; £5½ million on technical and vocational education; and £10½ million on higher education. Thus the colonial development and welfare contribution amounts to about £27 million. If my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head) were here, he could no doubt tell us haw many Blue Streaks that is worth.
156 The health side seems to me no less important than the educational one, and I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) that there is already a system by which hospital registrars from this country go to Uganda. There is interchangeability there, and we hope we may be able to develop this process further.
My hon. Friend the Member for Kirk-dale (Mr. N. Pannell) asked us whether we attempt to dictate the styles in which the schools were built. It may amuse him to know that we were taken to task by the Public Accounts Committee for not insisting on certain building standards, but, in fact, we have never attempted to dictate to them. Indeed, I often think that there is an inclination to think too much in terms of buildings and furniture for schools when what is more important are teachers and small classes, particularly in tropical countries.
The hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) pleaded for more expenditure on training for the overseas service. I hardly liked to seek the advice of my officials about this, because it seems to me that they would be unlikely to disagree with his suggestion. My inquiries have shown that the amount of money spent by the colonial development and welfare funds on training is considerable, though it is not the only source for this service. The colonial Governments themselves spend large amounts on it, including among other things, scholarship schemes.
My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South stressed the importance of television in Aden. I was very much impressed by what he said on that score. It is something which we have in mind, but we have not yet reached any decision upon it. The hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards) also pleaded for the establishment of a hotel in Sierra Leone. My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) has already been talking to me on that subject, and we shall certainly pay what attention we can to these representations.
The problem of the smaller territories is one which is brought to the fore by development and welfare assistance. The hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes) spoke at some length on St. Helena on this subject, and I will not 157 attempt to answer all his points, but I remember that he told me that I was misinformed in regard to some statistics which I gave him. I will look into that point, and let him know in due course.
Malta is the outstanding example of the way in which the smaller territories can be dependent on development and welfare assistance. As the House knows, £29 million will be given to Malta in the next five years, and of that sum £24 million comes from colonial development and welfare funds. At least £5 million will go on the dockyard. I must express regret tonight at the recent riots that took place in the dockyard at Malta. The money that comes from development and welfare funds can only have the effect of priming the pump by getting the dockyard going. The dockyard will prosper only if business comes to it, if people bring their ships in for refitting and repairing, and a not of this kind does strike at confidence, gives the impression of instability and disorder and can do great harm to the livelihood of the Maltese people.
The question has been asked whether the money we allocate is enough. The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn spoke about some of the things that would be done if her party were to come to power, and we have an authoritative statement, with which I think she was connected, in which there was an assurance that 1 per cent. of our national income would be spent over a period of years for that purpose asBritain's contribution to the development of backward and colonial territories through the existing Government, United Nations and other appropriate agencies.I am not clear what is meant by this. It does not sound as if it is only the Colonial Territories. It sounds as if it is going to a lot of territories outside the Commonwealth.
However, 1 per cent. spent of our national income would be about £175 million, but the net outflow of long-term investment funds at present to the Commonwealth, accompanied by grants in aid to the Commonwealth and Colonies, is about £200 million at the moment, or 1¼ per cent. What is the colonial share? The flow of United Kingdom private funds for capital purposes, and of United Kingdom Government funds for current and capital purposes, is running at about £100 million 158 at the moment. That is to the Colonial Territories alone. The statement here refers to "backward and Colonial Territories". I am not quite clear how much there is between us on that point.
§ Mrs. Castle
May I clarify that? We always, of course, included in that figure contributions to the United Nations agencies which go to backward countries, not necessarily our own Colonies; but that, at present, is not a very large item. We should be prepared to channel it all increasingly through the United Nations if the S.U.N.F.E.D. scheme were adopted. Certainly, there would still be a very big difference between our sum and the Government's.
§ Mr. Amery
It is not quite clear whether there would be a very big difference, in fact, between the £100 million we are already channelling into Colonial Territories and what would remain of the £175 million after other territories had had their share. It would seem to be fairly marginal.
I do not think that this is a very accurate pamphlet. I find that in page 19 £110 million is described asraised in loans by colonial governments".This is for 1954. In fact, the sum raised was only £16 million on the London market and very small sums locally. It is not really very accurate. Similarly, in page 13, we are told that in 1955the Conservative government claimed great credit for increasing under its new Colonial Development and Welfare Act "—this is 1955—the sum available … to … £20 million a year as against £14 million previously".In fact, we raised it to £24 million a year.
§ Mr. Amery
Certainly not. I am just giving the House these details. Accuracy is quite important in these matters, I think. I have some other documents here; I have the nice glossy one, "The Future Labour Offers You". I have done a great deal of constructive reading during the last few days.
The sums of money we have made available so far have been consistently underspent. As the House knows, we are doing away with the annual ceiling this year, but right from the origin of the 159 colonial development and welfare legislation, the sums have been annually underspent.
There is the new provision for Exchequer loans, about which a number of questions have been asked. The Exchequer type of lending, with the repayment of principal and interest, is not, of course, a new thing. It is applied in most loans to public and local authorities in this country. It was applied by the Government of the party opposite to the C.D.C. It figured in the Commonwealth assistance loans announced at Montreal. It is not a particularly new thing. Deliberately, the terms are not as attractive as market loans because we think that the market machinery is the more appropriate for colonial Governments to use.
If a country is moving towards self-government, one of the important things for it to do is to establish its credit in the world market and, more particularly, we hope, if it is to remain in the Commonwealth, in the London market. If there is a system by which Exchequer loans are made more favourable than market loans, nobody will go to the market; they will take Exchequer loans. Any country concerned would have no chance of establishing its creditworthiness before it became self-governing.
I have often thought there was a case for preferential loans, but not in this context. Indeed, I have myself made speeches about this in the past. It is important to build up creditworthiness before a country becomes self-governing. This type of condition also has been imposed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
§ J. Johnson
We all accept the condition that a State should be solid and creditworthy, but would not the hon. Gentleman accept the view that, in education, perhaps, there is a place for a special fund for that specific social service in a Colony?
§ Mr. Amery
That is what development and welfare grants are supposed to meet. This is in addition to the loans. The grant is supposed to meet a certain area of the requirements of the Colonies. The loans are for a requirement over and above that. It is an additional requirement. I do not think that it would have been right, unless we are to undermine 160 the whole structure of establishing creditworthiness on the Landon market, to have offered Exchequer loans at more favourable rates than those prevailing in the market.
We have just gone through a difficult economic situation, but it is not necessary to suppose that rates of interest will always be at a tremendous height. Conditions may change again. Money may become cheaper. This may not be as big a burden in future as it may seem to be at present. After all, there were a lot of other methods which one could have sought for approaching this task. It was suggested to us that there might be Government guarantees, and that we might underwrite all the loans, but here again we would have had no guarantee of creditworthiness and it would have been totally unselective.
§ Mrs. Castle
There may be something in the hon. Member's argument about establishing the creditworthiness of countries which will become independent if we were going to continue development and welfare grants to them after independence is reached. Surely the hon. Gentleman is trying to give the colonial Governments the worst of both worlds. He is forcing them to take onerous terms for loans and denying them the grants they need to meet the recurrent charges now falling so heavily upon their budgets, as in the case of Nigeria.
§ Mr. Amery
The hon. Lady misunderstands the position. When the countries become self-governing, they can come to the London market, and we hope that they will. If they have previously established their creditworthiness they will be able to raise money on the London market. Therefore we shall have helped them in the process here.
Grants and loans are different things. My hon. Friends the Members for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) and Wavertree wondered whether we were right in having loans that were not tied to British exports. Commonwealth assistance loans under the Export Guarantees Act are tied. These are loans negotiated between independent sovereign countries. A tied element has never been a feature of development and welfare grants. One of the reasons for that is that a major share of what the money is spent on is local resources. To try to place obligations on the Colonies to spend here 161 when they can spend locally would be a complicating factor.
There is the other side of the picture which we must remember and to which the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn drew attention. In the difficult war-time and post-war years the Colonies were of tremendous support to us in accepting the very rigid discipline of the sterling area which we had to impose to come through. It is right that in the more prosperous climate in which we are moving today they should get the greater freedom which we can at the moment afford to give. We are confident that in any case our competitive power will be sufficient to enable us to hold our own in the colonial market.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wavertree asked about the colonial sterling balances. There is not as much room here as one might have hoped for or indeed as much as the party opposite have suggested in one of their pamphlets for mobilising the sterling balances of the Colonies. They are already pretty tied up, not only on currency backing, but on commodity assistance to cushion the small producers against sharp falls in the cost of primary commodities.
I now come to the question which several hon. Members, particularly the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, put to me as to why the emerging countries cease to be eligible for development and welfare grants when they become sovereign.
§ Mr. Callaghan indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Amery
Several hon. Members made the point. I thought that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East did as well. Certainly the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn made this point. The reason is that these particular grants are specifically for the Colonies. That does not mean that there are no other methods of making finance available to sovereign countries of the Commonwealth. After all, the Colombo Plan was an extremely important scheme of the type which hon. Members opposite have in mind. As other areas become self-governing, there is no reason why they should not become eligible for a new form of assistance and aid if they have the economic requirement—such as the West Indies and others. The development 162 and welfare grants which we are discussing under the Bill, however, are an attempt to discharge our special responsibilities towards the countries over which we still have rule. It is our policy that commitments already undertaken should be fulfilled.
Reference was made to Nigeria. In the last two or three years, Nigeria has begun to mobilise her own resources to a far greater extent than ever before. She is using her available sterling balances for development and there has been a very large investment from the oil companies in Nigeria. All this has eased the situation there to a considerable extent.
We claim that by and large, grants totalling Cl39 million, Exchequer loans totalling £100 million and market loans such as can be raised in addition represent a fairly large scale of development potential.
Of course, there are still fairly serious limiting factors. As my right hon. Friend has said, skilled manpower is no longer the limiting factor that it has been in the past. It is the recurrent costs that tend more and more to make the Colonies hesitate before embarking on some of these development projects. The fundamental problem here is whether trade policies will be such as to make it possible for the Colonies to pay their way in the world and to finance the cost of these recurrent schemes.
Expanding world trade would be the ideal solution and we can do something to help this. Expanding Commonwealth trade is something which we can influence much more. There is need for us to be flexible in our approach. In my view, the sheet anchors of expanding Commonwealth trade have always been the sterling area and the preference system, even today. I have always regretted that with the Washington loan the party opposite sold the pass and lost the chance of increasing Imperial Preference. Commodity agreements have, in many cases, an important part to play. The Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is of crucial importance. I am not, in principle or theoretically, so very hostile to bulk buying, but it is important to realise that there is considerable scepticism about it on the part of the primary commodity producers. They rather fear the emergence of monolithic, monopolistic buyers.
§ Mr. Amery
Not necessarily, but I have talked to people coming from a number of different Colonies who hold this view. I do not say that they all hold it, but it is the view of a number of representatives of colonial opinion.
I have indicated the broad reasons why we consider that the criticisms that have been made against us are not valid. In any case, I hope that the House will support the Bill.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Bryan.]
§ Committee Tomorrow.