§ 31. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered the request from the Malta Progressive Constitutional Party to appoint a Royal Commission on economic and constitutional matters; and what study he has made of the case for a further review of the economic problems still facing the island.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Iain Macleod)
I am taking this request into consideration in examining Malta's problems, but my present view is against a further economic review while the Malta Government's five-year development plan is still in its early stages.
§ Mr. Wingfield Digby
When considering the difficult economic future of the 219 island, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that ship-repair work is not too easy to obtain nowadays even for established yards in this country?
§ Mr. Macleod
That is certainly true, but I think we have recently had enough economic surveys of the position in Malta, and the five-year plan has been running for less than a year.
§ Mr. Callaghan
While it is true that we have had several surveys, is it not already clear that the proposals of the Government for full employment in Malta will not be fulfilled? In that case, what is the point of waiting longer for the expiry of a period which will confirm only that there will be substantial unemployment in Malta?
§ Mr. Macleod
I do not accept the premise which the hon. Gentleman advances. I have no doubt that the position is a difficult one and much depends on the future of Bailey's in Malta. I have no reason to think that matters will turn out as the hon. Gentleman suggests.