HC Deb 06 November 1946 vol 428 cc272-3W
102. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the postwar policy now in process in the economic development of Cyprus; and if the grant of £92,800 made by His Majesty's Government to relieve the island of the charge of interest on the Ottoman Loan of 1855 will in future be reduced with increased prosperity in the island.

Mr. Creech Jones

As regards the development programme, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Governor of Cyprus on 23rd October, of which I give a copy below.

As regards the second part of the Question, no change is contemplated in the arrangement to which the hon. Member refers.

Following is the statement:

(a) From 1941 until the end of March this year, a period including the most difficult of the war years, the amount expended on public health, irrigation, water supplies, agriculture and forestry from free grants made by His Majesty's Government under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act totalled £600,000.

(b) A further allocation of £1,750,000 has been made to Cyprus under the new Colonial Development and Welfare Act and in addition we may expect to reap the benefit from survey, research, higher education, training and other schemes which will be financed from central allocation for all Colonies.

(c) The Cyprus Government has now published a Ten Year Development Plan, the cost of which in round figures is £6,000,000. The plan includes expenditure amounting to some £700,000 required to complete those projects which were unfinished when the new Colonial Development and Welfare Act came into force.

(d) This is not all, for a recent Report on an Island wide electric power and light scheme, indicated that if put into effect that scheme would require a sum of up to £3,350,000.

(e) While it is hoped that the Electricity scheme can be reduced in cost the foreseen total of all the development plans including those already under way, is over £9,000,000.

(f) Financing of plans of this magnitude cannot be contemplated at the moment and in these circumstances it is clear that approval cannot be given now to each and every scheme in the Ten Year Plan. The Plan as a hole must be regarded, therefore, as an ideal to be attained, as and when finances permit, and policies allow, during the next ten years or even lnoger. Priorities have been drawn up beginning with schemes costing about £4,000,000.

(g) Towards financing development the Government are considering the possibility of contributions from local revenues and raising loan-monies locally. In this connection it is to be noted that on the 30th September last a sum of £11,300,000 was on deposit in the banks of the Colony. Apart from the fact that it is in our own self-interest financial assistance on the scale provided by the Colonial Development and Welfare Act lays on us all the duty of seeing that our own local resources are mobilised to the utmost degree so that a comprehensive plan for the development of the Island can be implemented. There is every reason to believe that the local contribution can be substantial.