White Highlands

Oral Answers to Questions — Kenya – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury 12:00 am, 15th November 1960

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the future of the White Highlands of Kenya, and the funds which Her Majesty's Government are proposing to make available for development and land guarantee.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The policy of Her Majesty's Government and the Kenya Government is that racial and tribal barriers to land tenure should be abolished and that the basis of management and tenure of all agricultural land should be similar so far as local factors permit. Proposals to accomplish this policy were contained in two Kenya Sessional Papers, copies of which I have placed in the Library. Legislation based on the recommendations is now in preparation.

As regards the latter part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to him on 20th July. An International Bank mission is now in Kenya to consider that Government's plans.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

While thanking the Colonial Secretary for the first part of his reply, and congratulating him upon the change in approach to the White Highlands, may I ask him if he is not aware that the financial provisions are far from adequate for the situation in Kenya today? Will he consider the establishment of a land bank which will be able to provide money for farmers to buy their way into farms in the White Highlands and to open up undeveloped land and provide guarantees for European farmers, who believe that they have been misled by some of his predecessors?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The hon. Member is wrong on the first point. The question of the Kenya land policy dates back to long before the time when I became the Secretary of State, and it has been pursued by successive Secretaries of State in this country and by the Kenya Government over the years. On the second point, I am always anxious to draw a distinction between resettlement and development, on the one hand, for which one can attract international finance, and plain schemes of compensation, on the other, for which, I assure the hon. Gentleman, one cannot. It is important to keep the emphasis on the first throughout.