Oral Answers to Questions — Trinidad (War Contributions).

– in the House of Commons on 5th February 1942.

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Mr. David Adams:

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that since 1919 Trinidad, West Indies, has supplied to the British war effort by way of gifts and loans, the sum of £2,300,000; and whether, in view of the financial requirements for development and social welfare of that colony, he will recommend to the Governor that such grants be now discontinued?

Photo of Sir William Boulton Sir William Boulton , Sheffield Central

I have been asked to reply. My Noble Friend is aware of the generous contributions which have been made to His Majesty's Government by Trinidad. There is a special agreement regarding the cost of defence measures undertaken in that Colony by which the cost is, with certain exceptions, met by His Majestys's Government, and the Colonial Government pays a fixed defence contribution. For 1941 and subsequent war years this amounts to $1,250,000 a year. In accordance with the policy laid down in my Noble Friend's circular despatch to Colonial Governors of 5th June, 1941 (published as Cmd. 6299), it is not proposed that any sums in addition to this contribution should in future he offered by the Colony as gifts to His Majesty's Government. Sums surplus to immediate requirements in the Colony for current expenditure and development may still be offered as interest-free loans, thus remaining available for development expenditure after the war. Trinidad has offered to make such a loan during 1942 amounting to $1,500,000 and this offer has been gratefully accepted by His Majesty's Government. This still leaves very considerable sums available to the Colonial Government for expenditure on development and welfare.

Mr. Adams:

Does the hon. Gentleman consider it a sensible procedure, in the case of those Dependencies which are themselves penurious, to accept these gifts?

Photo of Sir William Boulton Sir William Boulton , Sheffield Central

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would study the reply.