Debate on the Address

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th November 1951.

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Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot 12:00 am, 8th November 1951

I am quite well aware that the right hon. Gentlemen opposite think that they discovered the Colonies. I will have a word to say about that later.

I believe that the solution of the economy of the whole sterling area lies in this direction, and I think that there may be some further, although they may be small, alleviations which can be drawn from the Colonial Territories, but I do not think they can be massive. Most of our hopes must be concentrated on the mid-term and long-term classes of projects.

I do not wish to make more than a passing reference, and I do not think I should have done so had the right hon. Gentleman not intervened, to the alarming growth of the sterling balances of the Colonies. They have gone up by over £400 million during the current year and have now reached a figure of over £1,000 million. I only want to point out—and this is no criticism whatever of my predecessor, who was caught up in a financial crisis—that a system of colonial development which leaves the Colonies to finance the Mother Country to the extent of £1,000 million cannot continue unchecked. I do not think that any hon. Member in any part of the House would dissent from that proposition.