HC Deb 20 January 1953 vol 510 cc19-20W
93. Miss Lee

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if any action has yet been taken to ease the economic hardships of the coloured population in Kenya, either by reducing food prices or easing the harshest features in substandard service contracts.

Mr. Lyftelton

It has always been the policy of the Kenya Government to raise the standard of living of its peoples, but improvement in the present low African standard of industry, skill and output and general low wage economy can only be gradual. The Governor has recently appointed a sub-committee of members of the Kenya Government to ensure that these problems are kept under constant examination.

As far as food prices are concerned, the great majority of the African population grow their own food and to the extent to which they have a surplus for sale, they benefit from the high prices. Those adversely affected by the food prices are the urban labourers. The minimum wage order limits the deductions which may be made from wages in the town, if rations are supplied. Assistance in another form is also given to urban labour through a large subsidised housing programme. The Nairobi City Council has recently increased its five-year programme for African housing from £1 million to £2 million.

As to the second part of the Question, I am not clear precisely what the hon. Lady means by a sub-standard service contract, but if she will let me have details I will investigate it.