HC Deb 27 October 1975 vol 898 cc382-3W
Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the population of the British Indian Ocean Territory; how that population is distributed between the islands concerned; and if he will make a statement about the future constitutional status of the territory.

Mr. Rowlands

There is no permanent population in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and several of the islands of which it is made up are uninhabited. Apart from Diego Garcia, where there are United Kingdom and United States Service personnel, there are 80 people on Farquhar, 59 on Desroches and 24 on Aldabra. Those on Farquhar and Desroches are contract workers and their families from Seychelles employed on the copra plantations. Those on Aldabra consist of 10 expatriate scientists and persons engaged in scientific work conducted by the Royal Society and 14 men, women and children from Seychelles assisting in this work.

Her Majesty's Government envisage no changes at present in the constitutional status of the BIOT.