HC Deb 11 December 1956 vol 562 cc206-8
22. Mr. Gough

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if Her Majesty's Government will institute a fund, out of blocked Egyptian assets, to provide for British subjects taking refuge in this country as a result of expulsion by the Egyptian Government.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, South (Sir J. Lucas) on 4th December and to the statement my right hon. Friend the Chancellor made in the course of his speech on 6th December.

23. Mr. Gough

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will be prepared to release the Egyptian dominated accounts in this country belonging to British subjects, normally resident in Egypt, who are now here as a result of the actions of the Egyptian Government, subject to the proviso that such sums shall only be spent or invested in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Walker-Smith

When these returned British subjects declare that they intend to live permanently in the United Kingdom or any country other than Egypt, their sterling assets will no longer be subject to the restrictions imposed on the accounts of residents of Egypt. Where they are not proposing to settle permanently outside Egypt, reasonable facilities for drawing on their sterling assets are allowed.

Mr. Gough

Does my hon. and learned Friend appreciate that at the moment some of these people are suffering critical difficulties? Will he not agree to waive that rule for the time being in order to allow them, at least temporarily, to have some of this money, which is their own, in order to start in business in this country?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am not sure whether my hon. Friend appreciates that a British subject home from Egypt who is not prepared to declare that he intends to live permanently outside Egypt is nevertheless allowed to draw on his Egyptian sterling account at the rate of up to £100 a week and, in addition, to draw for miscellaneous purchases, such as the purchase of a house in this country in which to stay for the present.

Mr. Paget

Considering that they are innocent victims of this disaster, could not we send them to Jamaica for a holiday?

Mr. Nicholson

In order to make the position quite clear, will my hon. and learned Friend assure the House that Egyptian assets are in no case being paid over to the Egyptian Government at the present moment?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I think that is well known, but I am grateful to my hon. Friend for mentioning it.