HC Deb 09 March 1961 vol 636 cc58-9W
Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has taken note of the Blood Commission's opinion that Her Majesty's Government should make plain what financial help can be expected over a period of years; and whether he will make a statement on the suggestion made by certain members of the Commission that Her Majesty's Government should pay for the maintenance of the Malta police force while ultimate responsibility rests with the Governor.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Yes. Clearly it is desirable for the Government of a territory which is still so dependent on external financial assistance as Malta, to have a clear idea of what it may expect in the way of such assistance. At present United Kingdom financial assistance is devoted almost exclusively towards meeting Malta's capital expenditure. It was for this purpose that Her Majesty's Government made £29¼ million in aid available to Malta for the quinquennium ending in 1963–64. So long as Malta remains the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government it will continue to be eligible for assistance from funds voted by Parliament for development purposes.

Experience of the past few years has shown that it should be quite possible for the Maltese Government to meet its recurrent expenditure from its own resources, and the work of the interim Government in administering Malta's finances should make this easier in future. Her Majesty's Government has in the past contributed towards the cost of certain services in Malta such as civil defence, stockpiling and civil aviation, It is intended to make provision for a contribution, in so far as this is needed, during the coming financial year.

The suggestion that Her Majesty's Government should pay for the maintenance of the Malta Police was not made by the Commission as a whole. As the Police will remain a force of the State of Malta, even though responsible for the time being to the Governor, it is right that the cost of the Force should continue to be borne on the Maltese budget.

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