§ Mr. Burden
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that owing to the failure to introduce price pegging in Jamaica, the prices of essentials have been seriously inflated, many of these essentials now costing more than in England, notwithstanding the considerably lower Jamaican wage, level; and what steps he is taking to remedy this?
§ Colonel Stanley
Owing to the changed situation since the outbreak of war in the Far East, the landed cost particularly of imported essential commodities in Jamaica has risen sharply, but energetic steps have been taken to keep this rise within bounds, with the result that the cost of living index has been maintained at approximately 60 per cent. above the level of 1939. For the 9 months ending 30th of June, this has involved subsidisation of the cost of imported essentials amounting to £218,000, and in addition the assumption of losses on the re-sale at controlled prices of locally grown foodstuffs. It is estimated that to continue this policy a further £500,000 will be required for the year ending 30th of September, 1944. In addition, it should be borne in mind that earnings in the sugar industry are directly linked to the cost-of-living index, that there have been material improvements in the price of Jamaica's other export crops, and also that the purchase of the banana crop has been financed at a cost of about £1,500,000 a year to the United Kingdom Exchequer.