HC Deb 23 June 1953 vol 516 cc1673-4
34. Mr. Grimond

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the Government's policy about the payment of tax-free salaries to British servants of international agencies.

Mr. R. A. Butler

It is the Government's policy to see that British servants of international agencies are treated no differently from the servants of other nationalities of the same agencies. So far as exemption from United Kingdom Income Tax is concerned, the matter is governed by the International Organisations (Immunities and Privileges) Act, 1950. This requires that privileges may not be granted until an Order in Council has been made and approved by each House of Parliament.

Mr. Grimond

May I ask the Chancellor whether the decisions are uniform throughout all these agencies? Also, while I appreciate the great difficulties of drawing up any international salary scales in view of the taxation position, may I ask whether there is not now some anomaly between the position of some people working in these agencies and others doing similar work in international services?

Mr. Butler

The matter has received some public attention and it is a source of some anxiety to at least one international organisation, which has just started an inquiry. I can assure the hon. Member that if any such inquiry is instituted by an international organisation we, so far as we are concerned, shall take an interest in the matter.

Mr. Driberg

The right hon. Gentleman did not answer all the last supplementary question. Could he say whether the scales are in fact uniform as between nationals of different countries? He says ours should be treated no differently from any others. If that is so, why does not the same principle apply to Servicemen in the various forces of the United Nations?

Mr. Butler

I should want notice of the exact situation of each particular international agency concerned. All we want to see is that our nationals are treated the same as other nationals. If the hon. Member cares to put down a Question on the other point, I will try to give him an answer.