HC Deb 25 July 1922 vol 157 cc197-9
45. Sir J. BUTCHER

asked the Prime. Minister whether he can state, approximately, the amount of the taxation per head in Great Britain and Germany, respectively, in British sterling; whether many wealthy Germans are removing their securities and moneys in large amounts from Germany to neutral countries to evade taxation; whether the German Government is spending large sums of public money in developing the railways, canals, public works, and the industrial resources of Germany; and whether he can make any statement as to the evasion by Germany of her obligations to make reparations under the Treaty of Versailles?


With regard to taxation per head, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham on the 15th June. But I should point out that all such estimates are profoundly affected not only by the rapid movements in the exchange but also by the future effects of the depreciation of the mark on the yield of taxation, effects which it is impossible to foretell. The question of taxation in Germany, and the questions referred to in the second and third parts of the question, are primarily matters for the Reparation Commission, which is dealing with them on the Report of the Guarantees Commission at this very moment, and I would ask my hon. and learned Friend to excuse me making any fresh statement on this aspect of the reparation problem at present.


Cannot the hon. Gentleman give me an answer on the question of fact raised by the second and third parts of the question, namely, as to wealthy Germans removing their securities from Germany and as to the German expenditure on the development of their own resources in evasion of their payment of reparations?


I am afraid it would be difficult within the possible limits of an answer to a question to give fuller information than my right hon. Friend has given in the course of this answer.


Has the Government really no information at all upon this very important question of fact?

Lieut.-Colonel CROFT

Has not the right hon. Gentleman some means of ascertaining whether there is this large movement of German capital in the way suggested by my hon. Friend?


Did not the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell me that these specific questions were being referred to the Reparation Commission for the information of His Majesty's Government, and can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any reply has been received?


I am not in a position to answer the hon. Member for Frome (Mr. Hurd). As to the question asked by the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Lieut.-Colonel Croft) it is extremely difficult to get information of statistical accuracy in regard to this matter of the exportation of capital. It is a current that runs below the surface, and it is only possible to obtain information by means of indirect indications, almost, I might say, hints.