§ Mr. Sharp
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the economy of the Turks and Caicos islands depends on the production and sale of salt; what action is taken by his Department to ensure that the maximum use is made of salt purchased from public funds; and what is the approximate total loss to the British taxpayer resulting from purchases made since 1942.
Mr. Creech Jones
The chief occupation of the people of the Turks Islands is the production of salt which, before the war, 'made up three-quarters of tie Dependency's exports. During the war, export was impossible and His Majesty's Government, therefore, gave 'financial assistance to the island and took over the salt produced. Since the war, shipping296W difficulties have hampered the export of this salt; but under a contract recently concluded a considerable quantity is being sold to the Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, in Japan. Since 1942, His Majesty's Government have paid out (37,000 in support of the Turks Island salt industry. Until the disposal of the salt is completed, it will not be possible to say how much of this sum will be recovered.