HC Deb 07 December 1961 vol 650 cc1504-5
4. Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many workers were employed, and how many were un-employed, in the cigar-making and tobacco-growing industries in Jamaica, at the latest convenient date and at the corresponding date in 1951; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Fraser

I have no recent information on this subject. Labour matters are within the competence of the Government of Jamaica which is self-governing in this sphere. I have, however, asked the Governor if he can provide this information and will write to my hon. Friend when I hear from him.

Mr. Lipton

Would it not undoubtedly help the workers in the cigar-making and tobacco-growing industries in Jamaica if the hon. Gentleman had a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer? There is a very easy way of encouraging greater production, namely, by lowering the duty on Jamaican cigars coming into this country?

Mr. Fraser

We have given various pledges to Jamaica. The import figures in 1960 and for the first nine months of 1961 show a considerable improvement on the corresponding figures for 1959.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Is the Under-Secretary aware that the Government's Commonwealth Immigrants Bill will greatly aggravate the problem of unemployment in Jamaica? Will the Government do something about increasing economic aid to compensate in some measure for the effect of the Bill?

Hon. Members


Mr. Russell

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the import of Jamaican cigars has gone down over the period I mention in my Question because of competition from Cuba? Will he make representations to the Board of Trade with a view to trying to reduce the import of Cuban cigars?

Mr. Fraser

We have always said that Jamaica's interests will be very much borne in mind.

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