§ 101 and 103. Mr. N. Macpherson
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he will make a statement on the decision to abandon the original project for a military stores-holding depot at Mackinnon Road, Kenya;61W
(2) in view of the decision to abandon the scheme for a military stores-holding depot at Mackinnon Road, to what extent he will reimburse the Kenya Government for the expenditure it has incurred in providing road, rail and other services commensurate with the importance of the original project.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
As indicated by my hon. Friend's predecessor on 2nd December, 1947, a store-holding organisation was established at Mackinnon Road to accommodate essential stores from the large quantities which had been accumulated in India and other areas by the end of the war. Accommodation was not available in the United Kingdom, and Mackinnon Road, having regard to its geographical position, was selected as the most suitable site for the project.
While the construction of the Depot was proceeding, however, it fortunately proved possible to continue to use sites in the Middle East for store-holding purposes on a large scale, and work on Mackinnon Road was accordingly reduced in scope. The stage has now been reached when, particularly in view of the needs of the Army under the rearmament programme, the expenditure of further money on Mackinnon Road can no longer be considered desirable. About £1¾ million has been spent, against an original estimated cost for the project of some £10 million. All removable assets will be salvaged for use elsewhere. The House will appreciate that the project might well have been instrumental in safeguarding stores valued at more than £100 million, and can be regarded as a justifiable form of insurance.
So far as I am aware, the only substantial expenditure which the Kenya Government have incurred in connection with the depot at Mackinnon Road is in respect of improvements to road communications from Mombasa. The War Office have reimbursed the Kenya Government the extra cost of maintaining the existing road and have also agreed to refund the cost of surfacing a new road to a higher standard than would be required for normal civil traffic.