HC Deb 10 July 1962 vol 662 c1129
9. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to alleviate unemployment in Basutoland.

Mr. H. Fraser

There is no firm evidence of an increase in unemployment in Basutoland that would justify special steps being taken by Government; but the situation is being carefully watched, and I am in touch with the High Commissioner.

Mr. Healey

While welcoming that statement, may I ask the Under-Secretary whether, in view of the fact that two years have now passed since the Morse Commission made its Report, the Government will consider fully implementing all the provisions of that Report, in view of the tremendous importance of these territories and their special difficulties?

Mr. Fraser

If the hon. Member will put down a Question, I will give him a more detailed answer. Various projects are afoot. There is already provision of £180,000 currently for agriculture, approximately £9,000 for the Basuto factory estate extension, and there is a current application to the I.D.A. for a development loan for roads.

Mr. Stonehouse

Can the Under-Secretary say what is the proportion of unemployed in the Protectorate?

Mr. Fraser

It is very difficult, as the hon. Member knows, to judge in a country with a very large seasonal agricultural employment, but, at the moment. I do not think there are any major signs of unemployment, except the seasonal unemployment which always exists in this part of Africa when agricultural contracts are terminating.