Kariba Hydro-Electric Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Central Africa – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1956.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 27th June 1956

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what proportion of the financial contribution to be made to the Kariba Hydro-Electric Scheme is to be borne by the Colonial Development Corporation.

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

The Colonial Development Corporation have been authorised to lend £15 million, which will represent about 19 per cent. of the cost of the first stage of the project.

Photo of Mr Roland Jennings Mr Roland Jennings , Sheffield, Hallam

May I ask my right hon. Friend if it is a fact that the Italians have got the contract for carrying out this scheme? If so, is it not right that this country should see that its money should be spent in developing its own industries, instead of encouraging Italian industries?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

That is really not relevant to this particular question. All I can assure my hon. Friends is that Her Majesty's Government have been in consultation with the Federal authorities and are satisfied that the arrangements made for United Kingdom contractors are fair ones in competing for this new business.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelli

May I ask how the Minister reconciles this decision to invest £15 million in the Kariba Hydro-Electric Scheme, which we welcome, with the Answer given by the Secretary of State last week, when I suggested that some sum of this kind should be invested to prevent that deal which we discussed last week? Last week, we were told that it was quite impossible to invest £15 million of C.D.C. money in Trinidad oil, because of the need of the money elsewhere. Now, we find that £15 million is being invested in one scheme. Would not that have been appropriate last week?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

I do not think that what happened last week is appropriate to the Question on the Order Paper.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

May I ask whether it is not a fact that, despite the fact that the greater part of the money for the Kariba scheme is being provided from this country, the main contract for £20 million has already been let to the Italians?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

I am afraid that the question of the actual details as to who has got the contracts and so on is not one that comes within my Department. It is a Federal Government matter.

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

Is my right hon. Friend correct in saying that the question of who gets the contracts is not relevant to the Question? Is it not an astonishing thing that, at a time of acute capital shortage in this country, we should be providing a vast sum of money in order that developments may be undertaken by a foreign Power?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

I am sorry. I hope that my hon. Friend does not misunderstand me. I said that the question was not relevant to the Question on the Order Paper, which asked what proportion of the financial contribution to the Kariba Hydro-Electric Scheme is to be borne by the Colonial Development Corporation.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

May I ask the Minister if he will answer my question? I did not ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he was responsible or not, but whether he was aware that the main contract for £20 million has been let to the Italians? Does he know that, or is his Department grossly ignorant?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

No, Sir. I am not in a position to answer any questions about the letting of contracts.