Sir H. SAMUEL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the probable minimum and maximum cost to the British Exchequer of the proposals made in the Reports of the Commissioners on the Sugar Industry in the West Indies and Mauritius?
§ Mr. P. SNOWDEN
The estimated cost to the Exchequer of the increased preference recommended by the West Indian Sugar Commission would be, approximately, £1.1 million a year if it had no effect on the quantity of Empire sugar imported. The maximum cost would depend on the additional quantity of Empire sugar attracted here by the larger preference. If this were (say) 50,000 tons, the total cost would be increased to about £1.3 millions a year. It may be added, as was pointed out in a reply given by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies to the right hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) on 27th March, that the Report of the Commission contemplated that the cost of their proposal for the establishment of an Import Board with a guaranteed price for Empire sugar would fall on the British consumer and not on the taxpayer. The cost of a subsidy on the lines recommended by Sir Francis Watts for Mauritius sugar was estimated by him at £235,000 for that Colony for the first year on the basis of the average price during 1929. For next year the cost on the basis of current prices might be about £600,000. I am not in a position to estimate the cost of applying the same principle to other Colonies, but it would, of course, be greatly increased.