HC Deb 17 November 1936 vol 317 cc1480-3
10. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can give particulars of the increase, if any, in the revenues of Newfoundland; and of the increase or decrease in expenditure?


As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Will the figures state the number of people who are unemployed, the number on relief, and the amount paid in relief at the present time?


That is not the question which the hon. Gentleman asked. The answer I am circulating simply deals with the figures of revenue and expenditure, but I shall be quite willing to answer the other question if the hon. Gentleman will put it down.

Following is the answer:

The following table gives the revenue and expenditure of the Newfoundland Government for the four years 1932–33 to 1935–36. The figures given are exclusive of the grants-in-aid issued to the Newfoundland Government from the United Kingdom Exchequer, and of receipts and expenditure relating to schemes financed by grants or loans from the Colonial Development Fund.

Year. Revenue. Expenditure.
$ $
1932–33 8,085,667 11,339,442
1933–34 8,745,195 10,211,554
1934–35 9,511,134 10,553,026
1935–36 9,830,011 11,909,895

Revenue for the first four months of 1936–37 has shown an increase of approxiroately $400,000 on that for the corresponding months of 1935–36. Expenditure in the current year is expected to 'how a slight decrease on that in 1935–36.

11. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is aware that the Newfoundland Government gave orders for a number of motor trucks without any tenders being asked for, and that some of these orders went to the United States; and whether he will have inquiries made into this transaction?


I have no information as to the particular transaction referred to, but am asking the Governor for a report.

12. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs the reasons why Mr. T. Lodge, one of the Newfoundland Commissioners, has been recalled?


Mr. Lodge was appointed in February, 1934, as a Commissioner in Newfoundland for a term of three years, and he is about to come on leave pending the completion in February next of his term of service. It is not correct to say that he is being recalled. On the contrary, I have a very high opinion of the services which he has rendered in Newfoundland.


Is it the understanding of His Majesty's Government that in no case will men who have served three years on this Commission have their term renewed?


No, Sir, that is not the understanding.


Has the right hon. Gentleman seen reports in the Newfoundland newspapers that Mr. Lodge has been recalled?


If such reports have appeared, I hope that the answer which I have given to-day will remove any suggestion of that kind.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what period of holiday per annum is allowed?


I could not answer that question without notice, but it is a perfectly normal period. It is customary, if an official of this nature has accumulated some leave, that he should be able to take that leave before resigning from his office.


Does not my right hon. Friend consider that it would be desirable to appoint a thoroughly experienced business man on this Commission, to deal with economic matters?


We have had one.

13. Mr. MAXTON

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is in a position to indicate when it will be possible to restore representative government to Newfoundland?


No, Sir. As I reminded the hon. Member in answer to a question on 10th November, the Address from the Newfoundland Legislature to His late Majesty asked for the suspension of the then existing Letters Patent and the issue of new Letters Patent providing for the administration of the island on the lines now in force until such time as it might become self-supporting again.


I remember the Act very well, but what I am asking is whether the three years of Commission government have not now established a situation in which it would be possible to return to Parliamentary government?


The three years have, I think, shown a considerable improvement in the prospects of the island, but they certainly have not yet established a situation in which the island is self-supporting again, and I think that anyone who has been following this matter closely, as I know the hon. Member has, must realise that, if this work is to be done effectively, it will be a fairly slow process.


Is it not a fact that the reason for His Majesty's Government taking action was that the funds of Newfoundland were in a bad state; is it not the case now that the funds of Newfoundland have improved; and is not that a satisfactory reason for a return to representative government?


The situation is that, whereas before Commission government was started the deficit on the Budget was something in the region of 3,000,000 dollars per year, that deficit has now been reduced to round about 2,000,000 dollars, and, therefore there is still a substantial deficit.


Considering that the improvement has been so great under the commissioners, is it not obviously desirable to keep the present administration?