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Alderney (Restoration Work)

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 24 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance it is intended to pay to individuals and commercial undertakings in Alderney in respect of losses suffered as the result of the German occupation during the late war.

It is estimated that the cost to His Majesty's Government incurred up to 30th June, 1947, of assisting Alderney to recover from the losses caused by the German occupation is about £174,000. This money has been expended on the provision of stores and goods, and on repairs and reclamation work performed, in the first instance, by military and prisoner-of-war labour, and latterly by a civilian organisation.

Can the Minister say why Alderney is treated much less generously than Jersey or Guernsey, and, also, whether he is aware that not a penny of this money which he has mentioned has reached the staple industry of the island on which employment in the island depends?

The circumstances of Alderney were entirely different from those of Jersey and Guernsey. A very considerable part of this sum has, of course, been spent on individuals who are engaged in various industries on the island.

Can the Minister say whether the money to be spent on the rehabilitation of the Channel Islands come; under the jurisdiction of his Department?


asked the Secretary or State for the Home Department what sums of money have been spent on encouraging and subsidising communal farming in Alderney since the liberation and what is the reason for the failure of this experiment.

The communal farm was established on the reoccupation of the island, not as an experiment in communal farming, but as the only means of rehabilitating the land, which, as a result of the island having been converted into a fortress, had become unfit for cultivation. The work of rehabilitation is nearly completed, and, at the request of the islanders themselves, the communal farm is now being broken up with a view to the resumption of private farming. The net expenditure up to 4th July is £26,800.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the sum of £26,000 is a charge against the National Exchequer, and, also, would he lay a report of this rather extraordinary farming operation in the Library of the House, so that hon. Members can judge for themselves?

This money was a contribution from the British Exchequer to help these people to get the island back into cultivation after it had been practically covered with concrete by the Germans. I have been to the island twice since I have been in office, and before the islanders returned, I met them in London and discussed the problem of their resettlement with them. In the main, the arrangements carried out secured their approval.

Will the Minister make it clear whether the experiment of communal farming was conducted at the request of the farmers of Alderney?

I met the farming community of Alderney within a very few weeks, if not days, of taking office, and discussed with them the way in which the farming on the island was to be got going again, in view of the deplorable state of the island. They agreed, at that time, that the only way of restarting was by communal farming.

Would the Home Secretary be willing to receive a deputation of representatives from the Channel Islands some time before the end of the year to discuss the many difficulties which have arisen there?