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St Helena, Ascension And Tristan Da Cunha

Volume 975: debated on Tuesday 11 December 1979

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what recent studies have been made of the economic prospects of the South-East Atlantic dependencies of St. St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, either jointly or separately; and what recommendations have been made.

No specific economic studies have been undertaken recently. However, an official Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Overseas Development Administration team visited St. Helena in August 1979 to monitor the present aid programme and to discuss future development plans. The team concluded that, although prospects were limited, development aid should continue at roughly the present level. Ascension Island has no native population and was not included in the study. Tristan da Cunha maintains a fair standard of living from its fishing industry.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what specific help is being given to St. Helena currently either by Her Majesty's Government or by other agencies to develop and expand its fishery exports.

British aid funds, so far totalling about £300,000, have been made available to provide a research vessel, a tunny boat, two cold stores and a blast freezer; and for a long-term consultancy on the development and export potential of the fishing industry.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what are the reasons for the current proposals for reducing the number of calls at St. Helena to and from the United Kingdom by the RMS "St. Helena"; and what calculations have been made of the effect of any reductions in the currency and way of life of St. Helena.

We are anxious to limit the increasing cost of the subsidy to the British taxpayer of the shipping service to St. Helena and Ascension Island, estimated at £1·5 million for 1979–80. With the agreement of the St. Helena Government we shall shortly be asking consultants to examine how to make the most cost effective use of the subsidy. When making their recommendations the consultants will be required to take into account any effect they might have on the way of life on St. Helena.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what developments have followed from the report on the possibility of encouraging tourism in the three south-east Atlantic dependencies of St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

The consultants' preli-South-East Atlantic dependencies of St. Helena and Ascension Island, is still being studied by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the St. Helena Government. There are many obstacles to be overcome before tourism could be developed. Tristan da Cunha is too inaccessible for a feasible tourist industry.