For the purposes of this Act certificates issued shall not be subject to the provisions of section sixty-four of the Stamp Act,1891. —[Major Legge-Bourke.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
I am moving this Clause largely in order to obtain information. I understand now, since I put down the new Clause, that in fact the new certificates do not come under this particular Section, but there is one thing I hope the Minister will be able to tell the Committee, namely, what steps he is taking to prevent forgeries. As I understand it, the great advantage of the Stamp Duty applicable to the full certificate is that it is some prevention of forgery. We have to realise that the shortened form of certificate might be a great deal more easily forged than the fuller type, and I hope the Minister will be able to tell the House what steps he is taking to prevent that. He has mentioned already, in replying to the first Amendment, that he is most anxious to keep the reputation of the certificates as high as possible, and I am sure that is right, but I would ask him to remember that we have an enormous number of new citizens coming into this country, many of whom have very uncertain periods in their previous 705 lives. Only on 3rd January, 13,000 Jewish refugee children who suffered Nazi persecution came in from Germany, and if this new shortened form of certificate is to be so very easy, I do not see that we have very much security for those who are British-born and who have lived here all their lives. I believe it is essential to keep the reputation of the certificates as high as possible. As the right hon. Gentleman may be aware, I have urged the Government to welcome as many refugees and displaced persons into this country as possible, and I ask the Minister to consider that some of these young people who will get naturalisation before they are 21 may, it these certificates are easily forged, come into possession of them so that no one can know what their antecedents are. I hope, therefore, the Minister will tell the Committee what measures he is proposing to take to safeguard these new certificates and prevent them being forged.
§ Mr. Bevan
As the hon. and gallant Member said, he has discovered that the Amendment is not necessary, because the certificate does not carry Stamp Duty. The object of the Amendment was to remove the Stamp Duty if indeed it was applicable, but now the hon. and gallant Member asks how we shall protect the certificate if we do not have tile Stamp Duty. How did he propose to protect the certificate if he took the Stamp Duty away?
§ Mr. Bevan
I am not making a point of that, First of all, of course, the signature will be some protection. I am informed that it would be unwise for me to state the other precautions that will he taken, because if I stated them those who wish to defraud us could do so more easily. There are precautions that it would not be in the public interest to disclose, and I think, with that assurance, the Committee will have to be satisfied.
§ 12.45 p.m.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that we do not like too much secrecy, and I know he is somewhat reluctant at times to give as much information as we on this side would like, but I quite appreciate his reasons for not giving it today. AU I would suggest is that special forms 706 of printing and paper should be borne in mind and that every precaution should be taken to prevent forgery. In view of the assurance the right hon. Gentleman has given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.