Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the Secretary for the Colonies the number of natives, men and women, employed by the Phosphate Company, the wages paid to them, and if any provision is made for them in time of sickness; if he will state what taxation is levied directly upon the natives and the method by which it is collected, and from what source the revenue obtainable from licences is derived, and how the increase from £ 1,710 to £ 2,457 in one year is accounted for; if he will ascertain approximately the amount received by the company during the last ten years from the sale of phosphates; and whether the company is relieved from all direct taxation by the payment of 1s. royalty?
The number of male natives of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands employed on the Ocean Island by the Pacific Phosphate Company is about 700. Women are not employed. The wages, I understand, range from 32s. to 40s. a month, and the company provides medical and hospital treatment for their labourers. The system of native taxation in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands is described in Cd. 4356 and Cd. 4992. The revenue described as "licences, etc.," in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Report recently laid before Parliament, which rose from 73W £ 1,710 in 1909 to £ 2,457 in 1910, includes trading and ship licences and other minor licences; and in the latter year included also a Capitation Tax of £ 5 a year on adult males resident in the Protectorate other than natives. I am unable to state the amount received by the company for the sale of phosphates. The company is not relieved from direct taxation, but pays in Customs, Licence Duties, and Capitation Tax about £ 2,000 a year.