HC Deb 14 November 1939 vol 353 cc564-5W
Colonel Ponsonby

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether it is proposed to appropriate to the revenue of the Bechuanaland Protectorate the proceeds of the gold mined in the Tati district in excess of an arbitrary price of 150s. per ounce; whether this action is proposed in order to follow the example of the Governments of the Union of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia; and whether, in the case of Bechuanaland, regard will be had to the facts that in that native territory extra revenue is not required for war expenditure and the mining industry is in the hands of small workers?

Mr. Eden

I have approved a proposal of the High Commissioner for Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland that legislation should be issued in the Bechuanaland Protectorate providing, as in the case of the Union of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, for the payment to the Administration of the amount by which the realised proceeds of gold sold exceeds the value of such gold calculated at the general basic price of 150s. per ounce. The position of gold producers in the Tati district has been kept in mind and the legislation will permit of the fixing of an increased basic price in certain cases and subject to certain conditions.

The Bechuanaland Protectorate is in receipt of a grant-in-aid from United Kingdom funds and its revenue is bound in other respects to be affected by war conditions. In these circumstances it is feared that some increase of taxation is inevitable if essential services are to be maintained.

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