HC Deb 21 July 1960 vol 627 cc706-7
12. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about his proposals for the maintenance of stable land values and development of farm lands in Kenya.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I would refer my hon. Friend to my replies of 20th July to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Sir R. Robinson) and the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse).

Mr. Wall

While thanking my right hon. Friend for the helpful replies which he made yesterday, may I ask him whether he is aware that the total sum referred to, about £8 million, gives ground for anxiety? Will he agree that the smaller the fund the more likelihood there is of pressure for selling land? Has my right hon. Friend considered the memorandum submitted to him by the Kenya National Farmers' Union on the matter?

Mr. Macleod

I have certainly consider the memorandum of the Kenya National Farmers' Union on the amount of money to be made available. The Kenya Ministers most concerned are working out their plans. This matter is at the moment being discussed in the Legislative Council in Kenya, and the Kenya Ministers will be returning for further discussions with the Government.

Mr. Marquand

Is it still envisaged that this plan should operate for three years only, or is the right hon. Gentleman still open to receive representations on this matter?

Mr. Macleod

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman asked that question. I think that there is some misunderstanding about the period of three years. This period is limited to the currency of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. It has nothing to do with any political or economic considerations in Kenya or elsewhere.

Sir H. Oakshott

Will my right hon. Friend recognise that, if the economy of Kenya is to be stabilised and then is to go ahead, the biggest problem of all is that of the stability of land values and the security of land titles, and that he will have the support of everyone who has the interests of the whole of Kenya and all its races at heart in restoring confidence in this aspect of its affairs?

Mr. Macleod

I am sure that that is true. I think that in particular the question of land titles bulks very large. We are trying to resolve it.

Mr. Marquand

In view of the serious shortage of land for large numbers of Africans and the very small holdings which have resulted from some of the consolidation schemes, may we take it that the idea promulgated by the Kenya Government that farms of 50 acres be provided when land in the White Highlands is sold is also not an absolutely firm figure and that the figure could be smaller than 50 acres?

Mr. Macleod

The Kenya Government have plans for what one might call yeomen and peasant farmers. Those two together will take care of the point the right hon. Gentleman mentioned.