HC Deb 14 February 1951 vol 484 cc383-4
19 and 20. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what exemptions from the capital levy under the German Tax Bill will be granted to United Nations nationals;

(2) if he will endeavour to secure preferential treatment with regard to the proposed West German capital levy tax for Nazi victims naturalised and domiciled in this country.

Mr. Younger

I assume that the capital levy to which my hon. Friend refers is the proposed Equalisation of Burdens Tax now under discussion in the German Federal Parliament. His Majesty's Government regard this tax as designed in part to meet charges arising out of the war. In so far as it has this character, they do not consider that it should be paid by United Nations nationals. Discussions on the subject of this exemption are at present proceeding between the Allied High Commission in Germany and the German Federal Government. In this connection His Majesty's Government have also in mind those persons whose naturalisation in the United Kingdom was delayed on account of the war.

Mr. Davies

Will my hon. Friend put these exemptions on a permanent basis, otherwise the people who have suffered from Nazi victimisation will be expected to pay twice for the burden of the war?

Mr. Younger

This is a very complicated question, and I was very careful to say this tax relates only in part to the burdens of the war and that it has other elements.

Mr. Eden

Is this, by any chance a once-and-for-all tax?

27. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that restituted property of victims of Nazi persecution residing in this country, Germany or elsewhere, shall be free from the proposed Equalisation of Burdens Tax in Western Germany.

Mr. Younger

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies). Where successful restitution claimants are United Nations nationals, they will enjoy any benefit conferred upon such persons. I am advised that the tax liability of other successful restitution claimants depends upon a proper construction of certain provisions of the Zonal Internal Restitution laws and of the Equalisation of Burdens Law itself, which has not yet been finalised. The point will be kept under review by the United Kingdom High Commissioner.

Mr. Janner

Will the hon. Gentleman keep in mind the fact that it would be cruel to ask those who are victims of brutal Nazi persecution to pay for the evil deeds of their persecutors? If this law is brought into effect will he do his best to see that that anomaly is not created?

Mr. Younger

I have explained that this matter is under review. The text of the law itself is not finalised.

Mr. Pickthorn

Can we be told whether this is the first occasion upon which the Foreign Office has used—and, if so, whether it will be the last occasion on which the Foreign Office will use—the word "finalised"?

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