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Colonial Development Corporation (Schemes)

Volume 521: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1953

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what proposals he has in mind to enable the Colonial Development Corporation to fulfil its terms of reference, laid down in the Overseas Resources Development Act, 1948, and thus to become a more effective instrument for Colonial development instead of merely a financing agency


:The responsibility for carrying out its terms of reference as set out in Section 1 (1) of the Overseas Resources Development Act rests with the Corporation. I am not aware of any obstacles preventing the Corporation from fulfilling these terms of reference.

:Will the Secretary of State confirm that under the Acts it is the duty of the Corporation itself to initiate and carry out development schemes as well as to lend money to private enterprise? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that during the last two years of his—shall we say?—overlordship no new development schemes have been initiated?

I do not think that is accurate. In any case, a large part of the time of the Colonial Development Corporation in the last two years has been devoted to clearing up the inheritance from the previous management.

Will my right hon. Friend agree that capital is limited, and that as a consequence of what has happened in the past it should be spent only after careful thought?

Would the right hon. Gentleman like the Colonial Development Corporation to succeed? Does he think it is likely to be a success? We would like to know definitely the right hon. Gentleman's views.

:The right hon. Gentleman may be assured that, in so far as I and the present Chairman can, we will do our very best to make the Colonial Development Corporation a success. In fact, we have devoted a great deal of time to the subject during the last two years. I forget what the second part of the right hon. Gentleman's question was.

It was whether the right hon. Gentleman thinks the Corporation will succeed.

I have often asked hon. Members not to try to translate me from politician—or statesmen, just as they think—into the realm of prophet.

Can the Minister deny that in the last two years no new development schemes have been begun? Can he give us an assurance that there will be, and that it is his intention that there shall be, new development schemes begun?

:Certainly. If development schemes present themselves which will satisfy the criterion which has to be applied, the answer is emphatically in the affirmative.