HC Deb 22 July 1959 vol 609 cc127-8W
Mr. Royle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what funds are available to his Department for colonial development on schemes for the years 1959 to 1965 inclusive; what proportion of the total is already allocated to specific projects; in which territories these projects are intended; and what plans he has for any remaining funds.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The funds available are those provided under Sections 1 and 2 of the Colonial Development and Welfare (Amendment) Act, 1959, which extends until 31st March, 1964. In addition, the Colonial Office provides advances to the Colonial Development Corporation for projects of economic development in the Colonies.

The total amount available for expenditure under Section 1 of the Act is £140,500,000. This comprises £95,000,000 of new money provided under the Act and an estimated balance at the 31st March, 1959, of 45½ million unspent from funds provided under the 1955 Act.

Of this total of £140½ million, a sum of £23,695,000 stood committed to approved schemes at the 30th June, 1959. Details of approved schemes are set out in the Returns of Schemes presented annually to Parliament in accordance with the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940. The return for the year ending 31st March, 1959, is expected to be published shortly. If the hon. Member wishes to have details of schemes approved subsequently to that date, I will send them to him. I hope to announce shortly the allocations to be made under the new Act.

Exchequer loans up to a total of £100 million will be available under Section 2 of the Colonial Development and Welfare (Amendment) Act, 1959, to meet the external loan requirements of Colonial Governments to the extent that these needs cannot be met from the London market or other sources. Allocations will not therefore be made in advance, and loans will be approved as and when the need arises during the 1959–64 period.

The Colonial Development Corporation has power under the Overseas Resources Development Act, 1959, to borrow up to £150 million outstanding at any one time of which up to £130 million may be advanced through the Colonial Office from United Kingdom Exchequer funds. The Corporation's capital commitments on current projects at 31st December, 1958, were £81 million. Details are contained in the Corporation's Annual Report and Accounts for 1958.

The questions what further provision needs to be made for Colonial development and welfare in the period beyond the 31st March, 1964, will be considered nearer the time.