HL Deb 25 March 1958 vol 208 cc413-5

I. Constitutional

It would be provided in legislation that Malta would be comprised in the territories of the United Kingdom and Parliament would be asked to affirm in the legislation that in no event would Malta cease to have this status without the consent of the Maltese Parliament.

Provision would be made for Maltese representation (by three members) at Westminster and Parliament would affirm that the representation of Malta would not cease without the consent of the Maltese Parliament.

Parliament would also be asked to affirm in the preamble to the legislation that they would not pass laws extending to Malta with respect to which the Maltese Parliament had power to make laws except so far as the United Kingdom Parliament might judge it necessary for the fulfilment of Her Majesty's Government's responsibilities for defence and external affairs and certain other specified purposes.

The new Constitution for Malta would provide for the disappearance of the dyarchy in its present form and for the Governor to act in accordance with the advice of Maltese Ministers in matters within their responsibility.

The Maltese Parliament would have power to legislate on all matters except those specified in a. Schedule of excluded matters, of which the main items would be defence and external affairs.

The Maltese Government would have delegated to it certain executive powers in the field of external affairs, notably to negotiate trade agreements with neighbouring countries.

Her Majesty in Council would have power to make provision for Malta by Order in Council with respect to defence and external affairs where such provision is urgently necessary and for a limited period, in order to modify or adapt the law of Malta in those fields.

There would be provision in the legislation for consultative machinery in Malta and London.

The responsible Secretary of State would have certain powers of directing reservation of Maltese Bills affecting Her Majesty's Government's responsibilities for defence or external affairs or certain other specified matters.

II. Economic

Her Majesty's Government would approve and support the ultimate aim of the Maltese Government that after a reasonable period of years Malta should reach an economy and standard of living comparable to that of the United Kingdom.

It would be open to the Maltese Government after 12 to 15 years to request that their economy become an integral part of that of the United Kingdom.

The Maltese Government would recognise the obligation of the Maltese people to make sustained efforts to bring the economy of Malta to a level which, taking account of all relevant factors, was comparable to that of the United Kingdom.

A development programme would be drawn up on certain lines in consultation with Her Majesty's Government.

Towards this plan, Her Majesty's Government would as a first step provide assistance for the first five years, as follows:


A grant of £25 million over the five years.

The good offices of the United Kingdom Government to attract industry to Malta.


A minimum annual contribution of £1 million towards the social services, or more as the case might be, as follows:

  1. (i) Education:—one third of the annual recurrent expenditure of the Maltese Government if it was less than £.1,250.000 or one half if such expenditure were £1,250,000 or more;
  2. (ii) Health:—one third of the Maltese Government's expenditure;
  3. (iii) Other Social Welfare services:—one quarter of the Maltese Government's expenditure.

III. General

The above financial arrangements would be reviewed and the United Kingdom Government would be willing to assist the Maltese Government in taking remedial measures to be agreed if in consequence of any drastic change in Imperial defence policy, the level of unemployment in Malta should reach and for six months remain at a higher level than the rate in the United Kingdom.

A Working Party would be set up at once to consider in advance what plans might be made to deal with such a situation should it seem likely to arise, including the possibility of changes in the arrangements for unemployment benefit and gratuities for men discharged by the Service Departments.

An independent Commission could be set up after two years and would in any case be appointed towards the end of the first five years to review progress and to report on possible changes in the above arrangements.

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