HC Deb 09 March 1949 vol 462 cc117-8W
39. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if 'he is aware that, without financial assistance, the Malayan Government cannot continue to meet their obligations to advance money to those tin companies who require it for the rehabilitation of their dredges, owing to the fact that Malaya's finances are stretched to the utmost by the cost of the present campaign, and that unless some relief can be given production of tin must start to decline, with a consequent loss of dollar earnings; and what action he proposes to give such relief.

Mr. Creech Jones

Owing to the exhaustion of its surplus balances the Government of the Federation of Malaya has had to suspend the issue of loans for the rehabilitation of the tin industry. I am glad to say, however, that arrangements have been made for further loans to be made through the Industrial Rehabilitation Finance Board at the same rate of interest, i.e., 3 per cent. per annum.

40. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that, under present conditions in Malaya, it is impossible for prospecting for new areas of tin-bearing ground to go forward to replace those areas now being worked out and that, under these conditions, it will prove impossible for the tin-production target, set in the British Four-Year Plan, to be reached; and what it is proposed shall be done to provide adequate protection for the miners, in view of the importance of this dollar-earning commodity to the recovery of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Creech Jones

Prospecting for new tin-bearing areas has been slowed down by the disturbances in Malaya. The protection of miners and mines has been carefully organised, but it is not at present possible to provide individual escorts for small prospecting parties in remote areas. The tin production targets for 1949 to 1951 were based on the assumption that existing mines would be rehabilitated. The figures for 1952 and later assume that new ground will be brought into production. These facts are recognised in the efforts of the authorities to restore order.