asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what assistance is being given by the Government of Mauritius to plans for the growing of foodstuffs on sugar estates; and whether he is aware that there is considerable discontentment in Mauritius arising from the high cost of food.
The Food Production Board, which was appointed by the Governor of Mauritius in February last, has voted 7 million rupees for bonus payments during the present financial year to sugar and other planters who grow maize, sweet potatoes and other root crops. Locally grown root crops are already being sold at reduced prices. The principal imported foodstuffs are already subsidised, and it is hoped that complaints regarding the lower purchasing power of money will decrease as a consequence of the Board's activities, and steps recently taken by the Price Control authorities to reduce the cost of other foodstuffs.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that at the moment there is widespread discontent in this Island, and that there has not been a Royal Commission appointed since 1910 to investigate conditions there? Does he not think it would be worth while to appoint a Royal Commission to go into this problem?
We are fully alive to the conditions in Mauritius, and I am in active discussion with the Governor at the present moment regarding the economic affairs of the Island.