HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 cc152-3W
20. Mrs. Middleton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has yet received the Report of the Commission appointed to inquire into the sugar industry in British Guiana; and what action will be taken.

Mr. Rees-Williams

The Report was published today and a copy has been placed in the Library. It calls for careful consideration both here and in the Colony, but my right hon. Friend has expressed to the Governor the hope that no efforts will be spared by the sugar industry and the Government of the Colony to carry out those recommendations for improving working conditions which are clearly desirable, and which do not seem likely to arouse controversy or to make disproportionate demands on resources.

Some major recommendations in the fields of housing, health and education clearly involve very substantial expenditure, and the practicability of implementing them will have to be considered by the Government of the Colony in relation to its own resources, the needs of the rest of the community, the provision already made in the Colony's 10-Year Plan for such services, and the availability of funds which have accrued to the Labour Welfare Fund referred to in paragraph 3 of Chapter 19 of the Commission's Report. The Governor is examining the Report, and when this has been done my right hon. Friend will review the position further in consultation with him.

As regards the Commission's recommendation that a special subsidy of 20s. a ton be paid for British Guiana sugar, my right hon. Friend considers, after carefully studying the arguments advanced in the Report, that it would not be appropriate to single out the sugar industry in one particular territory for special assistance of this kind.