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Employment Plans

Volume 478: debated on Wednesday 25 October 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in view of increasing unemployment in Jamaica and other West Indian colonies, what plans have been prepared by Development and Welfare Department and Colonial Development Corporation experts to deal with this situation and avert possible disturbances.

I am aware of the serious problem of unemployment and under-employment in the West Indies. The primary responsibility for dealing with it lies with the Colonial Governments concerned. They are stimulating employment by the planned development of local resources and industries, assisted with Colonial Development and Welfare funds. Some territories are offering tax concessions to new industries. The Colonial Development Corporation have several projects in operation; other projects are being started with help from the Economic Co-operation Administration.

Could my right hon. Friend say to what extent the plans devised by the development and welfare department of the Colonial Development Corporation are likely to absorb this unemployment at present?

I would not like to give any specific figures. I realise that this is a very big and difficult problem, but I am certain that the plans already in operation and the further plans which are to be introduced will help considerably to ease the situation.

Is the Minister aware that even then the problem of unemployment is bound to be very serious indeed, and can he say whether there is any long-term policy with a view to relieving this area of this great scourge?

If the hon. Member will put down a question I will give him detailed information as to the plans which are in operation and which are to be put into operation.