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Relief And Resettlement, Jamaica

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in what ways the Government of Jamaica has revised and extended its plans for relief and resettlement, in view of the present grave discontent amongst unemployed and ex-Service men.

As the answer is long and contains figures, I propose, with my hon. Friend's permission, to circulate the information which he seeks in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the information:

(a) Relief of unemployment. Unemployment is most serious in the Corporate Area of Kingston and St. Andrew. Two programmes of special works prepared by the Corporation and costing altogether £285,312, of which the Government is contributing half, were approved last year. £37,231 still remain to be spent on works included in the first programme, and £56,374 on works included in the second programme. The Corporation has submitted a third programme, proposing that the cost should also be met partly by Government grant. This third programme has now been revised in consultation between representatives of the Government and of the Corporation, and it is expected that part of the programme, covering work on roads and gullies at a cost of approximately £158,000, will shortly be put into effect.
With regard to unemployment outside the Corporate Area, a programme of special works costing £75,000 for the relief of unemployment was approved in November of last year. The estimate for this year includes a number of new works providing employment which are to be put in hand in the near future.
(b) Resettlement of ex-Service men. Schemes estimated to cost at least £500,000 have already been approved and a number of changes have been made to the advantage of ex-Service men since the schemes were first announced at the beginning of 1946. These advantages particularly affect assistance to ex-Service men in land settlement and housing. There was some administrative delay in putting certain of these schemes into effect but at the beginning of 1947 the hon. Major A. G. Curphey, M.B.E., M.C., an officer with long experience of welfare work for ex-Service men, agreed to offer his services as Director of the Re-Absorption Department. He has been able to make improvements in the administration of schemes of assistance. In particular, he has made new arrangements for co-operation between his department and the other departments concerned to reduce delay in the execution of the schemes.