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Employment

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 30 November 1961

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35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to alleviate unemployment in St. Helena.

The work of the Public Works Department is phased as far as possible to help relieve unemployment and most of those unemployed are engaged on part-time relief works. The Government continue to assist the passages of single men to this country to guaranteed jobs.

Is it not the case that the situation is so grave that the Bishop of St. Helena recently called at the Colonial Office to discuss this matter? What was the result of his conversations? Will not the Minister further agree that one way to solve the problem is by instituting a proper, planned emigration scheme? What is he doing to that end?

I would not say that the situation is grave. It is serious, and unfortunately has been so for many years in St. Helena. My right hon. Friend was very happy to receive His Grace the Bishop. We have had talks, and various steps have been proposed to alleviate the problem. It would be idle to pretend it is not a serious problem, and it is difficult to see any lasting solution.