HC Deb 28 May 1963 vol 678 cc105-7W
76 and 77. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what sums have now been given to the Kenya Government to finance the resettlement schemes; and what other proposals he has to assist the economic development of farming in Kenya;

(2) whether he will make a statement about measures he proposes to assist Europeans in Kenya who are financially unable to assist themselves or are elderly and live in areas of high security risk.

Sir A. Hurd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now state the measures which Her Majesty's Government propose to take to assist those elderley British citizens in Kenya and other hardship and security risk cases who wish to return to Great Britain and will need financial assistance.

Mr. Sandys

In the light of consultations with the Kenya Government, I am now able to announce the financial assistance which the British Government will provide to Kenya for land settlement and general development in its financial year July 1963—June 1964.

2. The Land Settlement Scheme which my hon. Friend announced to Parliament on 18th December last, provided for the purchase of about one million acres of mixed farm land owned by Europeans for resettlement by Africans. This operation, which is to be spread over a five-year period, envisaged the provision by the British Government of £3.8 million during the coming financial year. However, in view of representations made to us by the Kenya Government, it has been decided to accelerate somewhat the implementation of this scheme. As a result, the area to be purchased next year will be increased; and the amount to be provided by the British Government will be raised to about £4.6 million.

3. In addition, we propose to provide up to £700,000 for the purchase and resettlement of farms, mostly outside the areas at present included in the scheme, whose occupants for reasons such as age, infirmity or remoteness of the property are exposed to special risks.

4. I have received representations on behalf of other property owners who, for the same reasons, are looking to us for special help, but who, because of the nature of their properties, cannot be brought within the Land Settlement Scheme. This raises certain difficult implications, which I am still considering.

5. We have also considered the working capital required by the Kenya Land Bank for the financing of land purchase outside the ambit of the Settlement Scheme. The number of applications to the Bank for loans for land purchase has of late appreciably increased, due in part to the desire of some European farmers, whose properties have been bought out in the settlement area, to remain in Kenya. We recognise the importance in these circumstances of increasing the resources of the Land Bank and have accordingly decided to make a further loan of up to £1 million to the Kenya Government for this purpose.

6. In addition, the British Government are providing £4.1 million for general development in Kenya in 1963–64. The projects to which this money will be devoted include agricultural development outside the settlement schemes, new roads and schools, and other basic services.

7. Thus, it will be seen that, for the financial year 1963–64, the British Government will be providing up to £10.4 million for land settlement and other development. Of this, £5.1 million will be a gift and £5.3 million will be in the form of a loan. This does not include the substantial aid that we are giving to Kenya for various other purposes.

8. I have also been giving attention to cases of elderly or infirm British people who wish to return to Britain but are without means. The British Government are prepared, in appropriate cases, to pay the cost of their passages and to assist with other incidental costs. Since this matter is urgent. a sum of £26,000 will be advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund for this purpose and provision for repayment to the Fund will be sought from Parliament by means of a Summer Supplementary Estimate.

9. Persons returning from Kenya will be eligible for grants from the National Assistance Board under the same conditions as residents in Britain. The Women's Voluntary Service, in co-operation with other voluntary organisations, has undertaken the task of co-ordinating arrangements for the repatriation of these persons to Britain and, where necessary, for their reception and care on arrival.

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