HC Deb 20 July 1965 vol 716 cc1316-7
4. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the financial assistance proposed to deal with the remaining compassionate cases among British farmers in Kenya.

The Minister of Overseas Development (Mrs. Barbara Castle)

I informed the hon. Member, in answer to his Question on 13th April last, that the British High Commission in Nairobi was studying each individual case on its merits. As the result of that study, I propose to provide up to £365,000 to enable the Kenya Government to make offers of purchase to 28 cases who qualify for assistance. Some additional cases are still under consideration and if they subsequently prove to qualify provision will be made for them. The remainder will now be told that they do not meet the criteria.

An advance from the Civil Contingencies Fund will be required and provision for repayment to the Fund will be sought from Parliament by means of Supplementary Estimates.

Mr. Wall

While I welcome that statement as far as it goes, may I ask the right hon. Lady whether she is really satisfied that only 28 cases need to be settled? My information is that about 150 war-wounded, sick or badly disabled British people in Kenya should be repatriated to this country and helped in other ways.

Mrs. Castle

This has been considered very carefully by the British High Commissioner and, as a result, about 100 cases have been rejected and 30 are still under consideration.

Mr. Boston

Is my right hon. Friend aware that her statement will be very warmly welcomed by European farmers in Kenya? Can she give us an idea when the aid will be provided?

Mrs. Castle

The successful applicants will receive offers based on vacant possession on 1st October. This is the earliest possible date from the point of view of agricultural management and standing crops.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Whilst also welcoming the announcement which will be appreciated by all in Kenya who are involved in these compassionate cases, may I ask the right hon. Lady whether she is aware that this cannot, obviously, be the end of the story? There will always be other cases coming along even in the next year or two. Has she allowed for that in her planning? Will the British High Commission be able to take care of such people in due course? Will the money be easily transferable in such circumstances?

Mrs. Castle

There are still 30 cases under consideration. We are not aware of any others immediately in the offering.