HC Deb 23 March 1925 vol 182 cc7-9
23. Mr. HARRIS

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if any proportion of the cost of the occupation of Iraq is borne by the oil companies interested therein or whether the whole cost is borne by the British Treasury?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The whole cost of the Imperial Garrison maintained in Iraq is borne by the British Treasury.


Is it not possible to raise some revenue by rates or taxes or in some other form, from these oil companies which enjoy the protection of His Majesty's Government?


Obviously, anything payable by these oil companies would be payable to the Iraq Government.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is that to say that these oil companies pay some royalties direct to the Iraq Government, and that the British taxpayer, who maintains that country, is to have no relief at all?


Why should not the Iraq Government defend the oil exploiters?


The Iraq Government are doing an increasing amount to provide for their own defence.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

May I have an answer to my question? Are we not to get any benefit for the relief of our taxpayers?


I think that very shortly the prosperity of Iraq will develop so much that there will be an increasing local revenue, and, consequently, there will be a less charge on the British taxpayer.


May we discover whether the agreement with these oil companies involves the payment of any royalties to the Iraq Government or not?


I must have notice of that question.

Captain EDEN

Is it not a fact that there is not any oil company operating in Iraq?


I believe that at the present moment no oil company is operating.

19. Major CRAWFURD

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can state what has been the cost to the British Treasury of the occupation of Iraq for the past 12 months?


I presume that the hon. Member's question is intended to refer to the current financial year. As that year has not yet closed I cannot give figures of actual cost. As may be seen from Class V, Vote 4, of the Civil Service Estimates for 1924–25, the total cost was estimated at £4,711,500. I understand that it is probable that the actual cost will prove to be less than the estimate.