HC Deb 15 July 1957 vol 573 cc763-5

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now make a statement on payments to British nationals expelled from Egypt.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

I will, with permission, Mr. Speaker, answer Ques-No. 85.

As hon. Members know, the Anglo-Egyptian Resettlement Board was set up earlier this year to deal with those British subjects who were arriving in this country from Egypt, who were in need.

Her Majesty's Government have been considering whether the definition of hardship under which the Board at present operates should be drawn somewhat wider to include those concerned who are suffering hardship through being deprived of access to their assets.

We have decided that this can best be achieved by a scheme of ex gratia loans as a measure of interim assistance. These payments will be calculated on the basis of the declarations of assets registered with the Foreign Office.

The scale runs from a figure of 70 per cent. for reckonable assets of £2,000 or less up to £5,000 where reckonable assets to the value of over £20,000 have been declared.

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of the scheme.

Major Legge-Bourke

While warmly welcoming my right hon. and learned Friend's statement, may I ask whether he could say whether the declaration of assets to which he referred will include securities held by the applicants both in Egypt and in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Lloyd

What is reckonable will be set out in detail in particulars which I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I can tell my hon. and gallant Friend that they include bank balances, cash deposits and securities in Egypt, and also securities on deposit in the United Kingdom.

Following are the particulars:

1. Applications

Applications for loans should be made to the Anglo-Egyptian Resettlement Board, 3. Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, S.W.1. The Board will consult the Foreign Office who will, in accordance with the declarations of individual assets registered with it, determine the amount of each applicant's reckonable assets. The Board will then make payment in accordance with the scale in paragraph 3 below.

2. Basis of payments

The assets reckonable for the purpose of the scheme will be the following tangible items:

Where declarations already made do not include assets held in banks in this country to which access cannot be obtained, applicants for loans should, when applying to the Resettlement Board, send a statement of these assets, substantiated where possible by a banker's statement.

3. Scale

The scale of payments will be as follows:

Reckonable assets declared and Amount of Loan
Up to £2,000 70 per cent. £1,400 max.
£2,001–£2,500 £1,400 (70 per cent. of first £2,000) plus £100= £1,500
£2,501–£3,000 £1,400 (70 per cent. of first £2,000) plus £200= £1,600
£3,001–£5,000 £1,400 (70 per cent, of first £2,000) plus £600= £2,000
£5,001–£10,000 £1,400 (70 per cent. of first £2,000) plus £1,300= £2,700
£10,001–£15,000 £1,400 (70 per cent. of first £2,000) plus £2,000= £3,400
£15,001–£20,000 £1,400 (70 per cent, of first £2,000) plus £2,700= £4,100
£20,001 and over = £5,000

4. Persons eligible

Persons eligible for payments under the scheme are all British nationals who left Egypt as a result of the events of last year, and who have, before 15th July, 1957, registered declarations of assets with the Foreign Office.

5. Relationship to previous loans from Resettlement Board

In making payment under this scheme, no account will be taken of the grants made previously by the Resettlement Board, nor of advances against Egyptian pensions. But loans which have been made by the Board will be taken into account in calculating the amount to he loaned under the scheme. It will be for the individual to decide whether he is eligible in respect of hardship for the scheme and, if so, whether he wishes to take advantage of it. Rut, once he has done so, he will not normally he eligible for further help from the Resettlement Board.

6. Duration of scheme

Applications for loans should be lodged within three months, but refugees now in the care of the Board who have not by that date been able to resettle themselves here, or whose emigration arrangements have been delayed, may defer their application with the consent of the Board.

7. Repayment

The Board when making payment will ask each individual to sign an undertaking to repay. But no one will be asked to make any repayment until he can receive a return from the Egyptian Government in respect of his individual claim.