HC Deb 24 November 1959 vol 614 cc187-8
39. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the new development plan for the Maltese Islands, indicating what new investment is envisaged and what new employment this will create.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The plan, of which a copy is in the Library, envisages new capital investment from public funds of £32¼ million over the five years 1959–64. Of this, £12 million is to complete existing projects and about £4 million is being held in reserve. Planned public investment in new schemes is therefore of the order of £16¼ million. The assistance offered under the plan by way of loans, grants and other inducements to industrial development should attract additional investment from private funds. The plan aims at full employment. Provided the full allocation for industrial development is taken up and matched by private investment, this aim should be secured.

Mr. Driberg

What figure of jobs needed does the right hon. Gentleman have in mind? Is he quite sure that in the plan there is not some risk of counting the same figure twice? Is he allowing for subsidiary jobs over and above the figure of 9,000 which, I think, has been mentioned?

Mr. Macleod

In reply to the first point, the hon. Member will find that that is dealt with in the plan itself under the subject of employment. In reply to the second point, I know that this criticism is made by a distinguished economist in this country who has great knowledge of Malta and that, I expect, is to what the hon. Member refers. This project was, however, carried out with the help of Dr. Adler, of the International Bank, and it would be surprising, therefore, if such errors existed in it.