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Malta (Post-War Reconstruction)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any consideration has been given, not only to the question of reconstruction in Malta after the war, but also to its future political status and industrial economy, in view of increasing population and its poverty; and whether the money to be set at its disposal by the British Government is available both for reconstruction and new industrial development?

As regards the first part of the Question, the hon. Member will realise that the attention which can be given to these matters while the Colony is engaged in active warfare is necessarily restricted. As regards the second part of the Question, the gift of £10,000,000 which has recently been voted for the Malta Government is intended primarily to meet the expenses of compensation for war damage and of rebuilding. But any balance which may be left after paying these expenses will be available for other purposes beneficial to the Colony, including industrial development, and the Malta Government will also be eligible to participate in the funds provided by Parliament under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act.

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman appreciate that in view of the ever-expanding population and the appalling poverty, something must be done to secure for the Maltese after the war a more reasonable standard of life?

I entirely appreciate that, but the hon. Member will also appreciate that Malta is still in the front line of the battle and that the amount of time the Government can give to the consideration of this question is necessarily limited.

I appreciate that as everybody does, but my Question does not relate to anything being done now but to future developments similar to what we are doing in this country.