HC Deb 06 July 1961 vol 643 cc1621-2
1. Mr. Wan

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will make a statement about the implementation of the recommendations of the Morse Report on the development of the High Commission Territories.

5. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he is now in a position to make a statement on the extent to which the Government intends to carry out the recommendations of the Morse Commission Report on the High Commission Territories; and if he will give details of the financing of these plans.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Bernard Braine)

The Morse Mission, in its Report, recommended further development in the three High Commission Territories under the main heads of roads, agriculture, including animal husbandry and education, and in Bechuanaland, water supplies, additional to the work already proceeding in these fields with substantial assistance from Colonial Development and Welfare funds. The Mission recognised that its recommendations could only be put into effect over a period of years

To enable a start to be made with implementing the Mission's recommendations and further development in the field of education, authority is being given to the High Commissioner to incur additional development expenditure up to £1.2 million in the period ending 31st March, 1963, above that already authorised under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1959. This authorisation means that the High Commissioner will dispose of nearly £6 million in all from now to March, 1963, for work on existing schemes and the commencement of new ones.

There is also the possibility of finance from the International Development Association and other international organisations.

Mr. Wall

While I welcome my hon. Friend's statement, may I ask whether the Morse Mission recommendation about Roma University is included in the sums which he mentioned? Secondly, how much money has been made available in total to the High Commission Territories for development over a period of five years from, say, 1959?

Mr. Braine

I should prefer my hon. Friend to put down a Question about the first point. The answer to the second question is that, including the unspent allocations from the previous Act, the sum is over £9 million.

Mr. Thomson

While I welcome the fact that the Government have at last decided to make a start with the Morse recommendations, is the Minister aware that this is a very modest start? Is he aware that the Morse recommendations suggested that there should be not £1.2 million of capital development but £7 million of capital development very quickly and then £500,000 a year of recurrent expenditure for five years? Do the Government intend to go ahead to accept the Morse recommendations in their entirety as the very minimum necessary to put the High Commission Territories on a decent economic basis?

Mr. Braine

As the hon. Member knows, we have to take account of our serious balance of payments position and the other heavy calls upon our resources, but I am confident that the total sum-likely to be available to the Territories from all sources will be enough to enable them to undertake or make progress with all the development projects within their physical capacity. As for the details, I am in consultation with the High Commissioner as to the projects which are most urgent at present.