HC Deb 13 May 1909 vol 4 c2143W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress, if any, has been made towards carrying into effect the reorganisation of the Crown Agents for the Colonies as recommended by the inquiry committee and approved by the Secretary of State; whether, whilst the India Office can ship £5,000,000 worth of goods yearly at a cost of £4,000 or thereabouts, it has cost the Crown Agents for the Colonies over £10,000 a year to ship goods of the value of £2,000,000 only; and whether any fresh arrangements have been made on this head in the interests of the Crown Colonies?

Colonel SEELY

Detailed recommendations for carrying into effect the reorganisation of the Office of the Crown Agents for the Colonies in the light of the recent Report are now under the Secretary of State's consideration. The figures given to the Committee as payments to shipping agents are, for the India Office, £4,185 in 1905–6 on about £4,500,000 worth of goods, and for the Crown Agents £9,189 on £2,285,359 worth of goods (average 1904 to 1906); but the India Office ship to five or six ports to each of which there are several lines of steamers, while the business of the Crown Agents consists largely in shipping small parcels of goods to a great number of comparatively distant and unfrequented ports, so that no direct comparison of cost can be made. Arrangements, however, for reducing expense in accordance with the Committee's recommendations are receiving consideration.